Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let the ambitious open up, then we study them


Chama Cha Mapinduzi, a creation of the 1977 merge of Tanganyika African National Union – Tanu (1954) and Afro-Shiraz Party – ASP (1957) makes it in essence one of Africa’s oldest political parties that are still in power.

That is itself a remarkable feat, for most parties credited with liberating their people from colonialism, mainly in the 1960s, have since died on their own or have been defeated by the Opposition in the wake of multi-partysm.

We sincerely believe that a party that is 37 year old – or indeed, 60 in all, if you bring Tanu/ASP into the equation – should be mature enough politically, to stand above cheap and dirty machinations that are, sadly, taken as a norm in competitive politics.

It is not that much surprising that as we approach the 2015 General Election, some CCM cadres are deep into mean tricks against their fellow party members.

The same dirty tricks, verbal attacks were used to frustrate Mr Jakaya Kikwete ahead 0f the 2005 polls, one year before he officially announced that he aspired to contest the presidency on CCM ticket.

Those who either feared the clout of his network or his personal charisma and influence planned and came up with all manner of intrigues, accusing him of engaging in premature campaigns.

They went further to table a well-written dossier before the party’s Central Committee. The dossier was meant to paint the then Foreign minister in in bad light. Had it not been for wisdom of President Benjamin Mkapa, Mr Kikwete would have been disqualified by the powerful committee.

Political episodes

Last week, there were some political episodes within the ruling party. Former Premier John Malecela attacked the Monduli MP, Mr Edward Lowassa, accusing him of conducting himself against CCM’s scheme of things, including dishing out money to pave the way for his march to the State House.

Earlier on, another CCM cadre, Mr Paul Makonda, gave a strong-worded statement in which he accused Mr Lowassa of using bribery to build a network within the ruling party in a bid to ensure he clinches the party’s 2015 presidential contest ticket.

Our view is that the time has come for our country and our political parties including the Opposition, to allow everyone to open up if democracy is to genuinely prevail.

There are two issues here: one, expressing an intention to contest the presidency and two, making an official announcement that one is in the race for the presidency.

We believe that some CCM members have the right to express their wish or intention to vie for the presidency – just as it should be the case for any qualifying Tanzanian.

To the best of our knowledge, no CCM leader has made an official declaration to that effect – not yet. However, there are some who have expressed their desire in that regard.

When voters know the wishes of their possible presidential candidates, it means they will have ample time to scrutinise their backgrounds, finances and their capability to lead this country.

Why don’t we let such people express their wish so that CCM members and indeed, all Tanzanians, can have enough time to study and make inquiries on them, so that when come nomination time and ultimately, election time, the voters can each make an educated choice.