Dar es Salaam. Veteran CCM cadre Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru yesterday called for urgent dialogue to heal and unite the party ahead of the October General Election.
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that the party had been split by the Ethics and Security Committee’s decision to axe Mr Edward Lowassa in the early stages of the nomination of the party’s Union presidential candidate in Dodoma.
He said this was in violation of party rules and regulations and had angered party leaders and ordinary members alike, hence the need for reconciliation if CCM hoped to record a resounding victory in the October 25 elections.
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru is a staunch supporter of Mr Lowassa, and has in recent months been viewed at the former prime minister’s de facto spokesman, particularly on matters related to his nomination bid.
Bitterness and a sense of betrayal within Mr Lowassa’s support base in CCM was apparent and could not be ignored at this critical moment, Mr Ngombale-Mwiru added in what he said was a critical analysis of the CCM nomination process.
He took issue with the process that culminated with the nomination of Works minister John Magufuli as the party’s flag-bearer, saying rules were deliberately bent in order to drop Mr Lowassa, whom he described as CCM supporters’ and Tanzanians’ favourite candidate.
“The whole process was flawed...the committee that axed Lowassa’s name should have played a mere advisory role and not a decision-making one.”
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru said the Central Committee (CC) should have interviewed all 38 aspirants who returned nomination forms as a matter of constitutional requirement and natural justice before forwarding a short list to the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“If unsatisfied with the names, NEC, being superior to the CC, had the power to reject the list and demand a new one. This did not happen and NEC was used as a mere rubber stamp to endorse decisions made by the ethics committee.
“The ethics committee violated CCM ethics by usurping the role of the CC,” he said, adding that what transpired in Dodoma had tainted the image of CCM and should not be allowed to be the “new normal”.
“What kind of political party will CCM be if what happened is allowed to happen again ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary and civic polls?” Mr Ngombale-Mwiru asked.
He charged that a group of people conspired against Mr Lowassa and used the ethics committee to knock him out of the race because it was obvious he would have emerged victorious had his name gone beyond the committee.
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru said some top party leaders were behaving as if the party and the country were their personal property and think they could do anything, including violating the constitution and party rules with impunity.
“We put them in power and now they think they can do anything...this is not acceptable.”
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru said top party officials went out of their way to ensure that Mr Lowassa was dumped out of the race by bending the rules and using influential figures within the party.
He said the group, whose members he did not name, acted in blatant disregard of the aspirations and wishes of the majority CCM members and Tanzanians in general.
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru said he was speaking on behalf of the “silent majority” within and outside CCM, who were outraged by the turn of events. He added that although there was bitterness, the Lowassa camp did not harbour any grudge against Mr Magufuli because “he was not party to the underhand tactics” that led to Mr Lowassa’s exit.