Dar es Salaam. Former Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Membe (pic-tured) maintained yesterday that he was still a bona fide CCM member, adding that he did not rule out presenting himself for nomination by the party ahead of the October presidential election.
But CCM almost immediately dismissed Mr Membe’s assertion, saying his fate had already been sealed after he was expelled from the party earlier this year.
Mr Membe told The Citizen that the Central Committee’s proposal that he be expelled was yet to be endorsed by the National Executive Council (NEC) as required by CCM’s constitution.
The NEC is the party’s highest decision-making organ. Mr Membe was stripped of his membership in February after he was summoned and questioned by the party’s Ethics and Security Committee over misconduct allegations.
Former secretaries-general Yusuf Makamba and Abdulrahman Kinana were also summoned and questioned.
While Mr Makamba was pardoned, Mr Kinana, who later sought forgiveness, was put under probation for 18 months.
Reached for comment yesterday, CCM’s political affairs and international relations secretary, Colonel Lubinga, said the CC’s decision to expel Mr Membe from the party had the NEC’s blessings.
“Statements attributed to Mr Membe in the recent past smack of ideological and political immaturity. The fact is that he has been expelled, and he should either wait and see whether he will be pardoned, or he should apply for membership afresh.
Let him know that we are far from being troubled or intimidated by his utter-ances,” Col Lubinga told The Citizen by telephone.
Mr Membe said if the NEC would in the next few days overturn the CC’s verdict and proclaim that he was innocent, he could enter the race for nomination as CCM’s Union presidential candidate in the forthcoming General Election.
He added that no opposition political party had asked him to become its Union presidential flag-bearer in the elections.
“I recognise and respect opposition parties, especially for their commitment in advocating democracy, justice and the rule of law in the country,”Mr Membe said.
The former minister is the first person to publicly state that he could challenge President John Magufuli for nomination within CCM.
Dr Magufuli, who is also CCM national chairman, picked up nomination appli-cation forms in Dodoma last week, and is so far the only aspirant for the Union presidency in CCM.
In Zanzibar, 15 CCM members had by midday yesterday entered the nomination race ahead of the presidential election in Zanzibar later this year.
Zanzibaris will elect a new president at the end of Dr Ali Mohammed Shein’s second and final five-year term.
Those who have picked up nomination forms include Dr Khalid Salum Mohammed, Mr Jecha Salim Jecha, Mr Ali Abeid Karume, Mr Hussein Ali Mwinyi and Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha.
Others are Ms Mwantu-mu Mussa Sultan, Mr Issa Salum Nassor, Mr Mohammed Jaffar Jumanne, Mr Mohammed Hijja Mohammed, Mr Haji Rashid Pandu, Mr Omar Sheha Mussa, Mr Mbwana Yahya Mwinyi, Mr Abdulkharim Mohammed Ali and Mr Mbwana Bakar Juma.