Dar es Salaam. Former Chadema secretary-general Vincent Mashinji yesterday decamped to the ruling CCM.
It was the latest high-profile defection from the opposition party to CCM.
Announcing his decision at the CCM sub-office in Dar es Salaam, Dr Mashinji said he had joined CCM in support of the fifth phase government’s efforts to “bring about development for the people”.
Speaking in the presence of CCM ideology and publicity secretary Humphrey Polepole, Dr Mashinji dismissed Chadema as a “rudderless outfit” whose ideology was incompatible with the direction the party was taking.
“Chadema is supposed to be a conservative party, but there is a clear mismatch between what we believe in and what we are doing. That is why I’m equesting to join CCM, which, I think, is taking the country in the right direction,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Chadema director of ideology, communication and foreign affairs Jon Mrema said the departure of Dr Mashinji and several other prominent members would not adversely affect the party, adding that Dr Mashinji’s decision did not entirely come as a surprise.
“We have conducted a thorough assessment of some members, and we expect more defectors will leave in the coming days, but we will remain strong ahead of the forthcoming General Election,” he said.
Mr Mrema, however, thanked Dr Mashinji for his service to the party during his time as secretary-general.
Dr Mashinji succeeded Dr Wilibrod Slaa in March 2016 after the latter quit in protest at the party’s decision to accept and nominate former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa as its presidential candidate in the 2015 presidential election. Mr Lowassa quit CCM after failing to win the party’s nomination as its flag-bearer in the 2015 presidential election.
Dr Mashinji’s defection came a few days after former Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye and Ndanda MP Cecil Mwambe joined CCM from Chadema.
Several MPs and dozens of councillors have defected to CCM from Chadema in the last four years.