Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lowassa dream interrupted as CCM chiefs raise red card

Monduli MP Edward Lowassa and his wife, Regina,

Monduli MP Edward Lowassa and his wife, Regina, greet guests they invited to a colourful New Year party they held in the constituency. The former prime minister has declared he has embarked on his “lifelong dream to serve the people”.  PHOTO | COURTESY OF CITIWORLDNEWS BLOG  

Dar es Salaam. Will the ongoing power struggle within Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) leave the ruling party strong? Time will tell.

But the CCM vice chairman (Mainland), Mr Phillip Mangula, and the party’s Ideology and Publicity secretary, Mr Nape Nnauye, are worried over rampant foul play tearing the party apart.

They have both separately cautioned the party’s cadres over conducting premature campaigns ahead of the 2015 General Election.

Mr Mangula’s warning at the weekend came just a day after Mr Nnauye urged CCM members intending to carry the ruling party’s flag during the forthcoming civic, parliamentary seats and presidential elections to adhere to procedures.

Both were apparently reacting to Monduli Member of Parliament, Mr Edward Lowassa, who claims to have embarked on a race for his lifelong dream.

Addressing his supporters and close associates from in and outside the country during the New Year, Mr Lowassa said his sole dream was to serve the people.

The former Prime Minister said his dream in the “journey of hope” he has just started is to see Tanzanians getting quality education, health, and other essential social services free of charge.

But Mr Mangula argued, saying CCM must quickly react against such ambitions, lest the ruling party loses its hard won credibility in the political arena. “We shall summon all those who have shown interest in flying our party’s flag in the 2015 General Election… We shall question their motive behind declaring their intentions prematurely,” said Mr Mangula, adding: “We have investigated and realised they offer grants to people and transport them to and from venues of their meetings. We know their intentions.”

Any member of the ruling party wishing to contribute to development activities ahead of an election must get the approval of the CCM Central Committee beforehand, Mr Mangula explained.

He threatened to punish all CCM leaders using their religious outfits for carrying out their political campaigns, saying they were betraying the party.  Mr Nnauye was on Friday quoted as saying, in turn, “all CCM cadres, who have embarked on campaigns before the appropriate time, will be rejected”.

A political scientist, Mr John Alfred, told the Political Platform that the former Prime Minister was actually seeking the sympathy he badly needs from party officials and civilians.

Although he would be amazed if CCM failed to take action to restore loyalty to the party, Mr Alfred sees nothing wrong for ambitious cadres to network, for the move gives them room to assess the strength of their teams. “The struggle for power within the party corridors is inevitable and political parties should know that their members have different ambitions in life,” he said.

Mr Mangula’s warning, however, is not new, another political scientist from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Benson Bana, said.  Similar threats were issued as soon as the current CCM secretariat was formed, he explained. “It seems CCM is unable to enforce its own regulations. Mr Mangula has been “talking the talk” but, unfortunately, he has not been able to “walk the rhetoric”, Dr Bana said.

He said those accused of breaching the party’s constitution had a mission to accomplish and that they seemed to be “untouchable” within the party’s hierarchy. “Mangula and relevant CCM authorities should take action, as mere words alone will not make any difference at all. I

“ believe nobody within CCM is above the party’s hierarchy or has a licence to conduct himself contrary to the party norms and regulations,” Dr Bana said.

There is no problem for politicians to declare their interests to contest for key posts like of the presidency in the country, a lecturer from the UDSM Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Mr Faraja Kristomus, said. “What we should fight against is using bad means take over power. Why stop one who carries out his politics smoothly and declares his intention without harming people or engaging in character assassination,” queried Mr Kristomus, adding:

“In fact Tanzanians are in dire need of knowing their presidential aspirants in advance. As long as our country is democratic, we should find appropriate ways of identifying and electing best presidents for our country.”

It is much better if the people get ample time to know their potential leaders and gauge them, he said, stressing that it is time those eying the presidency declared their intentions for voters to evaluate their abilities years before they go to the ballot box.

“I advise all political parties to consider opening doors for their members to declare their intentions earlier for Tanzanians to get to know them.

“Political parties should establish fair regulations to prevent upheavals from arising during the search for the right leaders,” he said.