Dar es Salaam. The appointment of Dr Bashiru Ally as the new CCM secretary general (SG) makes him the second ‘outsider’ to lead the ruling party after ex-SG, Mr Wilson Mukama.
Mr Mukama executed the duties of secretary general between 2011 and 2012, after which he was replaced by the recently retired SG, Abdulrahman Kinana.
Unlike the two ‘outsiders,’ Mr Kinana was really an insider. He started serving CCM at the Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF) where he served for 20 years before ‘retiring’ in 1972 at the level of a Colonel.
Mr Kinana also served the ruling party as the deputy minister for Defence; deputy minister for Foreign Affairs, and minister for Defence at the time when he was elected member of Parliament for the Arusha constituency for 10 consecutive years.
Before assuming the CCM role as the SG in 2012, Mr Kinana served as the first Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) between 2001 and 2006.
In spite of being an ‘outsider,’ Dr Bashiru Ally caught the attention of the CCM national chairman, President John Magufuli, after leading a Special Presidential Committee he formed in December last year to probe into the party’s assets and liabilities.
The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) political scientist was confirmed by a meeting of the CCM national executive committee (NEC) that was convened at the State House on Tuesday after being appointed by the party’s national chairman, Dr Magufuli.
President Magufuli was impressed by what he saw as an outstanding job done by the UDSM don in verification of assets and liabilities. Addressing members of the NEC, the Head of State said he wanted the new CCM executive to act on the findings of the report.
However, Dr Bashiru’s new stand on constitutional review, lack of experience in ‘platform politics,’ and his priorities strongly featured social media platforms soon after being named the new CCM boss.
Although a new Katiba is not on CCM’s agenda, the document is greatly demanded by ordinary Tanzanians.
But, former CCM vice chairman Pius Msekwa, as well as Prof George Shumbusho of Mzumbe University, and Prof Gaudence Mpangala of Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu), outlined difficulties in maintaining his stand on the call for a new constitution.
“He will be expected to adhere to party decisions, as there is no room for individual positions,” said Mr Msekwa in a telephone interview.
“Otherwise he would have turned down the appointment,” Prof Shumbusho said in support.
For his part, Prof Mpangala cautioned that “CCM seriously takes issues that threaten its grip on power. The proposed new constitution calls for broader democracy that can lead to the party’s downfall. Dr Ally will have to respect party decisions on the issue.”
Dr Ally walked on similar ground when he promised to respect party decisions on the matter.
Speaking shortly after his predecessor, Mr Kinana, had handed him the office, Dr Ally said there were differences in commenting as an individual commentator, compared to commenting as a party executive.
“Nobody could sack me for my comments that time. But, now I’m supposed to comment based on party decisions,” he said.
He used the opportunity to downplay claims that he lacked experience in platform politics something that will make it difficult for him make quick achievements.
During the press briefing, he said no such experience was needed to successfully execute his administrative role – apart from becoming good strategist.
“The party’s national chairman and his two vice chairmen (Mainland and Zanzibar) are responsible for platform politics. They will be assisted by elected leaders in the regions, districts, wards and villages,” he said.
“I will be duty-bound in designing strategies, submitting reports in party meetings and supervising implementation of party directives.”
Former CCM secretary general, Mr Yusuph Makamba – as well as Mr Msekwa, Prof Mpangala and Prof Shumbusho – told The Citizen that the ‘lack of experience’ claim was baseless. “Presidents, lawmakers, regional commissioners and district commissioners most of the time are appointed into their positions without any previous experience,” said Mr Makamba.
He was supported in that by Mr Msekwa, who enigmatically said that “Dr Ally will be supported by the party structure.”
Prof Mpangala said Dr Ally is supposed to cooperate with other CCM leaders – and, that, experience wasn’t important.
He outlined his priorities as empowering the ruling party economically, and ensuring that the party pledges contained in the 2015 CCM election manifesto were fully implemented.
Dr Ally was born in Kagera Region on Jan 1, 1968. He attended Katerero primary school between 1980 and 1986 before joining Kilosa secondary school from 1987 to 1990.
Then he joined Ihungo secondary school for advanced education between 1991 and 1993 before pursuing three degree programmes at the UDSM.
Dr Ally worked with Mzumbe University between 2003 and 2004 before joining the UDSM where he worked in the department of political science and general public administration until his recent appointment as CCM secretary general. His 20-year marriage to Zulaikha has given them two children; Halima – who is currently pursuing a degree programme in Accountancy at the UDSM – and Asnath, currently doing Form-V studies.