Friday, July 10, 2015

Confusion over CCM meetings

A police officer on patrol outside CCM

A police officer on patrol outside CCM headquarters in Dodoma yesterday. Security has been tightened in the municipality and its environs as the ruling party meets to pick its candidates for the Union and Zanzibar presidencies. PHOTO | EDWIN MJWAHUZI 

By Damas Kanyabwoya The Citizen Reporter

Dodoma. There was an air of secrecy here yesterday over key CCM meetings that created an atmosphere of suspense and confusion among political players on the progress of the presidential nomination process.

The ruling party reportedly failed to start its presidential nomination meetings on Wednesday as per the schedule released on Tuesday.

The Ethics and Security Committee meeting, which was supposed to kick start the nomination process, had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday to be followed by the central committee meeting on Thursday. But it emerged yesterday that the meeting had not taken place due to unknown reasons.

CCM Ideology and Publicity Secretary Nape Nnauye confirmed to The Citizen yesterday that the Ethics and Security meeting had not taken place but declined to say when exactly the meeting would take place.

Mr Nnauye also declined to state when the Central Committee (CC) would meet to deliberate on the names of presidential aspirants before coming up with five names.

“I cannot confirm whether the two meetings will be held today (July 9) or not. But I am not saying that they will not take place today (July 9),” Mr Nnauye told The Citizen.

The two meetings are supposed to precede the National Executive Committee meeting (NEC) that normally votes on the names of three presidential nominees. The NEC meeting was scheduled to take place today (July 10).

Sources from within CCM said it is more likely that the CC meeting could take place today (July 10) and be followed immediately by the NEC meeting.

This, according to the source, is necessary to allow the National Congress meeting to take place on Saturday as scheduled. The national congress has 2,400 delegates.

Reporters are not allowed to to be present at the Ethics and Security and the CC meetings although media briefings are traditionally given after the CC sessions.

There was no official explanation on why the key meetings are being postponed or why their taking place is being kept secret. It is understood, however, that most of President Kikwete’s time on Wednesday was spent solving the MPs’ sendoff package crisis. CCM MPs on Wednesday threatened to boycott attending President Kikwete’s speech that he was to give at the occasion of dissolving the Parliament yesterday (July 9) until they are paid the Sh230 million package they had been promised earlier and not the reduced amount of Sh160 million.

But it is also apparent that the CCM presidential nomination politics are at a fever pitch currently as the aspirants battle it out in efforts to clinch the coveted nomination.