Butiama. Mr Charles Makongoro Nyerere, son of Mwalimu Nyerere, yesterday joined field that is getting increasingly crowded with aspirants eying the CCM ticket for the presidency, declaring himself the best-placed person to hold the party together and uproot corruption in the country.
Asking the party stalwarts to endorse his candidature to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete, Mr Nyerere, 56, said he was the only aspirant untainted by corruption, and without groups that are threatening the unity of the ruling party ahead of the October 25 General Election.
“CCM is currently bleeding from corruption and is in serious division because of some of its leaders who are now out to kill it for selfish motives,” said Mr Nyerere, at a well-attended meeting at his father’s birthplace of Mwitongo in Butiama.
Cheered on by the huge crowd that attended the meeting, Mr Nyerere said he would be picking the CCM nomination form later in the week to set on the journey he said was “to reclaim our party from the corrupt and hand it back to its real owners.”
He said: “I have decided that this is the right time for me to seek all of your support to save this party from collapsing on the heavy weight of pick-pockets and return it to its foundation. And as we seek to do that, tell them to do it through Makongoro.”
In his speech lasting two hours, he let out a scathing attack on the other top CCM officials who have declared their candidature for the same ticket, saying they went against the party’s rules and regulations in the manner in which they declared candidatures.
“They have all violated the due process. They have gone ahead to expound their vision yet the party’s manifesto for which we all swear to govern is not ready. The question that I then ask myself is this: what do they think they are?” he said.
He went on to name them as Mr Edward Lowassa, Mr Mwigulu Mr Nchemba and Stephen Wassira. He accused them of rushing ahead of the official release of the CCM manifesto that would commit whomever the party nominates the standard governance guide on behalf of all the others.
“If you see someone asking for a job and at the same time breaking the rules of the same job, count him out. Your will regret later should you entrust your vote on such a person,” he said, declining to read from a prepared speech given to him.
He accused Mr Wassira of “playing rough” on all other CCM candidates. He said the Agriculture minister spoke of his priorities knowing well that he was chairing the party’s think-thank preparing its campaign manifesto.
“The biggest problem with CCM is that its officials are not able to adhere to their own procedures. For rushing to declare their vision now, what happens if they come to differ with the party’s manifesto? These are the people who once in power would change everything to remain permanent kings in power.”
He lambasted those he said were out to wreck the party through corruption and influence peddling among CCM’s National Executive Committee members. “To them, it is me first and CCM later,” he said, warning that the current groupings in the party could lead to a split that would make it lose the elections he way most other independence parties in Africa have.
Mr Nyerere who was inducted into the Burito clan as an elder by Chief Japheth Wanzagi, gave what he said was a candid expose of a cabal of CCM leaders whom he blamed for derailing the good work done by President Jakaya Kikwete.
He said the same cabal had hijacked many party posts to advance their interests and not those of CCM or the country. “This same clique is using ill-gotten wealth that they got through CCM to want to wreck our party and set themselves to loot Tannzania even further. We should not let them come anywhere near victory,” he said, warning that such leaders have stashed properties abroad where they would escape after destroying this country.
He revealed that some top CCM members had planned a move to kick out President Kikwete as the party’s national chairman with a view to eroding his power in determining its future. He also said the groups that have emerged in the party ahead of the elections were not helping the party chairman to hold the party together.
“You will hear them say Team Lowassa, Team Membe, Team Pinda or Nchemba and the others. This teams are nothing but parties preparing how to share the national cake. To be a member of any one of these teams, you have go to have a lot of money. Those jostling to join them are those who want to make the money too,” said Mr Nyerere.
He said Mr Kikwete’s work, had been made difficult by corrupt people who surrounded him throughout his tenure: “I respect my party chair as a hardworking; a committed leader. His good mintentions, however, have been messed up by the friends he trusted, who turned the government into a cash cow.”
He warned of what he said was a plan to infiltrate the top CCM decision making organs as a means of locking out those candidates perceived as not supporting the agenda of the scramble to win the ticket for the presidency. “I will not be cowed by such plans. Together, we will triumph against the selfish few because as patriots we are the majority.”
Expounding why he believed he was the best candidate, Mr Nyerere said he has no specific grouping within the party and would not seek to join either of the groups before and after the nomination process.
“I am also not Mr money-bags to buy delegates or influence decision makers. I won’t feel a sense of entitlement should I be nominated, nor will I seek revenge should I fail to be nominated to run for presidency.”
He said the country needed a leader who isn’t tied to any interests other than those of serving the people. He said that is why CCM had lost public face as corruption within it runs deep and then spread through the whole echelons of government, with public officials and ministers.