Dar es Salaam. Kawe Member of Parliament (MP) Halima Mdee did not hide her anger on Monday, 24 February 2020 over a decision by her party’s former secretary general, Dr Vincent Mashinji to decamp to the ruling party CCM.
Ms Mdee, who doubles as the national chairperson for the opposition party, Chadema women’s wing, refused Dr Mashinji’s handshake request when they met at Kisutu Resident’s Magistrate Court on Monday.
Ms Mdee, Dr Mashinji, Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe and six others are currently defending themselves against charges of conspiracy to commit offences, unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation, raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes, sedition and inciting commission of offences.
The charges are alleged to have been committed between February 1 and 16, 2018 in Dar es Salaam
But while the case continues, Dr Mashinji – who was relieved of the opposition party’s secretary general position when Mr Mbowe replaced him with Kibamba MP John Mnyika in December last year (2019) - decamped to the ruling party (CCM) last week.
Speaking in the presence of CCM ideology and publicity secretary Humphrey Polepole last week, 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 requesting to join CCM, which, I think, is taking the country in the right direction,” he said.
And, when Dr Mashinji met his co-accused persons at the Kisutu Resident’s Magistrate Court on Monday, February 24, 2020, he managed to greet several Chadema bigwigs but when he extended his arm for a handshake with Ms Mdee, the latter ignored it.
Those that Dr Mashinji managed to greet included: Tarime Rural MP, John Heche, Bunda MP, Ester Bulaya, Iringa Urban MP, Peter Msigwa and the opposition party’s women wing secretary general, Grace Tendega.
While seating between Ester Bulaya and Grace Tendega, Ms Mdee was seen busy chatting on her smartphone with little regard for Dr Mashinji’s handshake request.
Why handshake matters
Forget about the handshake between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenya that resulted into the creation of the Building Bridges Initiative, a handshake has a lot of meaning in ancient and modern day communities.
History shows that the handshake has its origins from the days when people were fond of using swords for fighting.
Ancient people would carry swords in a case, called a scabbard, on their left side and that they would be ready to use them with their right hands when the need arose.
Shaking hands - traditionally using the right hand – thus emerged as a friendly greeting because it was proof that you came in peace and weren't holding a weapon.
It was also a sign of trust that you believed the other person wasn't going to take their sword out to fight you either.