Its short lifespan notwithstanding, many heard of Chama Cha Jamii (CCJ) - Social Party. The party coined its name to Chama Cha Kijamii (CCK) to retain its meaning and glory. But despite securing permanent registration, CCK is barely heard of today. In this interview with the Political Platform Reporter Patty Magubira, CCK national chairman Constantine Akitanda explains the reasons. Excerpts…
QUESTION: Why does CCK seem to be dormant compared to CCJ which came with a big bang?
ANSWER: Unfortunately, all the attacks we faced when struggling to register CCJ ahead of the 2010 General Election resulted from some opportunists whose main goal was to hoard power. A Kiswahili adage says ‘Ngoma ikilia sana, haikawii kupasuka’ - if a drum sounds loudly, it will soon burst. But some of the founding members of the defunct CCJ weathered the storm and founded the CCK. Just after the CCJ was deregistered, some of us with zeal to bring about a realistic opposition party in the country successfully came up with the CCK. CCK is a completely different party from CCJ. Only peripheral history so far still links them.
What was the motive behind forming CCJ - now CCK - while plenty of parties are in place?
The reason is purely ideological. We didn’t and still don’t believe that the current political parties line-up represent the best ideology for this nation. As you can tell from the name, ours is Chama Cha Kijamii – Social Party. Our main agenda as a political party is to improve the welfare of our society. It is only through one man we make our development purpose. As the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, said ‘we can only transform him and by extension his society’.
How many prominent leaders from the mainstream parties are expected to defect to CCK ahead of the 2015 General Election?
That was one of the major mistake we made with the CCJ. We are currently neither counting on nor courting defectors to join CCK. We will ensure members, who have been with the party for not less than a year, stand for elective posts on the CCK ticket. If there is anyone out there dreaming of vying for a post on the CCK ticket during the next General Election, let him know that he can only do so if he is a long-serving member of the party. So long as wehave learnt our lesson, there is no room for the eleventh-hour defectors.
Which pockets of the country does CCK still command support at the moment and why?
Our supporters are mostly the educated youth and the rural dwellers. We have a growing presence in rural areas and among educated minority in urban areas. Whoever takes his time to read our party’s ideology and policies, which have already been formalised now, he’ll realise that there is nothing like CCK across Tanzania’s political landscape. I believe this is the biggest attraction. We’re just a different party by all standards.
How is CCK planning to stand out of the political parties’ crowd in the country?
There are a number of things going on right now. We know it’ll take a little while for people to notice us. But once people know our position and ideals they will join us, as they are inherently attractive. We will continue to make our presence known and felt around the country. We are very strategic and our strategies will work out for us. I can’t say much about the plans, people should wait and see.
With a view of the simmering uproar in Mtwara and Mara regions, how will CCK handle the looming resource curse in the country when it takes over the government?
Once elected, we’ll embark on a massive restructuring of government. We’ll create and enforce enabling policies. There are some changes Tanzania needs to embrace to ensure the natural resource wealth is rightly used for ridding the people of abject poverty. They include the restructuring of the anti-corruption watchdog and the creation of transparent, accountable and reputable institutions. But more important is to ensure that natural resource receipts are distributed equitably.
We’ll ensure people surrounding the natural resources benefit from them as well. There are a number of ways of doing this. We’ll learn from other countries’ policies which ensure local communities and natives benefit from the resources. People will never have to wait for bureaucrats in Dar es Salaam to decide who gets what from the national cake. Some of the decisions will have to be directly made at the local level.
How will the CCK government avert the looming land conflicts pitting local people and investors?
We’ll, in the first place, guarantee Tanzanians with access to land. We’ll ensure they are not deprived of it arbitrarily by anyone. Land shall continue to belong to them and the state as it is now. Both land and mining contracts will have to adhere to the fact that land and everything in it belong to the people of Tanzania who shall be first beneficiaries of its products. Mining, oil and gas exploration as well as large scale farming will have to operate around this reality. We have been working diligently for a while now to establish such policies.