Spearheading reforms: Samia's three-year makeover of CCM

What you need to know:

  • President Hassan inherited a party deeply divided politically, which necessitated the need for healing in order for the nation to move forward

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan has significantly transformed the ruling party since taking over as CCM chairperson in 2021.

On April 30, 2021, members of the CCM extraordinary meeting cast 1,876 votes to elect President Hassan as the ruling party’s chairperson. She got 100 percent of all the votes cast.

She was elected to succeed her predecessor, John Magufuli, following his sudden death in office on March 17, 2021.

Since then, President Hassan, who doubles as the Head of State, has embarked on a reorganisation aimed at meeting members' expectations in supervising the government to bring about development.

Officials within the CCM Secretariat, which has been touched by the reorganisations, say they are satisfied with the manner in which their chairperson has fortified the party.

CCM secretary of ideology and publicity (Zanzibar), Mr Khamis Mbeto Khamis, said President Hassan has strengthened CCM as an institution.

He notes that she has made CCM a party that receives opinions from every citizen, member, and non-member, as well as reinforced party organs.

“During this period, President Hassan has broadened and strengthened intra-party democracy and consolidated the country’s economy that was ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted the global economy,” said Mr Mbeto over the phone.

“The president has also increased the number of party cadres that are on its payroll. Apart from regional and district secretaries, ideology and publicity secretaries are now receiving monthly salaries,” he added.

A fine detail but crucial in the operations of the party is the observance of the party calendar, which is very crucial in the operations of the party.

President Hassan has diligently adhered to the party calendar by timely convening constitutional meetings and actively soliciting the opinions of party officials in addressing any emergent governmental matters.

“For instance, she involved the party on the issue of DP World's port contract. The party was involved through party meetings that were convened to deliberate on the matter for the interests of Tanzanians and the nation in general,” said Mr Mbeto.

Tanzania and the Emirates of Dubai entered a contentious Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) aimed at giving exclusive port rights to Dubai-based DP World Company.

The agreement triggered a heated and divisive debate among Tanzanians in mainstream and social media, forcing different CCM cadres to tour the country to make Tanzanians understand what was going to transpire.

However, Mr Mbeto said the party chairperson has also involved the party in understanding the progress of implemented development projects, including hydropower projects, standard gauge railways, and the construction of bridges such as Kigongo Busisi.

“The 4R philosophy coined by President Hassan is being applied in various areas and has contributed to political tolerance, inclusiveness and forgiveness. These are among the key issues emphasised by the party chairperson,” says Mr Mbeto.

According to Mr Mbeto, President Hassan inherited a party deeply divided politically. There was a need for healing in order for the nation to move forward.

“She has also managed to unite existing political divisions within CCM that have now remained a single faction under Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan,” he remarked.

A political science and public administration lecturer at the University of Dodoma (Udom), Dr Paul Loisulie, said President Hassan’s administration has enabled CCM to maintain its status as a ruling party, therefore ending rumours of internal divisions.

“There are no major changes ranging from ideology to structure and system, but what has really changed are the faces in the secretariat,” he said, insisting that most of the things remain unchanged.

“On top of everything, President Hassan has come with a unique flavour of resilience and the utilisation of a diplomatic approach to providing solutions to political issues. That is contrary to her predecessor, who was so aggressive,” he added.

An independent political analyst, Mr Buberwa Kaiza, said reforms within CCM were influenced by outside incidents. He noted that political pressure forced President Hassan to change oppressive laws formulated by her predecessor that adversely affected the freedom of the press and the flourishing of civil society organisations.

“Reconciliatory meetings with the opposition took place in response to growing pressure from the opposition. Even the law reforms, including election bills approved by Parliament early this year, didn’t consider recommendations made by a task force led by former University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Vice Chancellor, Prof Rwekaza Mukandala,” he noted.

For his part, the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) Secretary General, Fr Charles Kitima, said he contends that President Hassan has improved the ruling party’s relationship with other political parties in the country.

“She has reinstated a sense of mutual respect among political parties. But the 2024 civic polls and 2025 general election would provide proper insight. You might remember what transpired in the 2019 civic polls and 2020 general election, where many citizens were discouraged by malpractices,” he said.

“Being the supervisor of the country’s democracy, the restoration of competitive democracy would be her legacy,” he said.

“Her decision to bless changes in the electoral commission will restore citizens’ confidence in the electoral process and encourage them to participate in the process,” he said.

Party reorganisation

The key reorganisations within CCM include those announced after a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) held in Dar es Salaam on January 14, 2023, presided over by President Hassan.

She retained Mr Daniel Chongolo as CCM secretary general and picked former Shinyanga Regional Commissioner Sophia Mjema to serve as the new CCM secretary of publicity and ideology, replacing Mr Shaka Hamdu Shaka.

Mr Annamringi Macha was appointed new deputy secretary general (Mainland), replacing Ms Christina Mndeme, while Mr Mohamed Said Dimwa was named new deputy secretary general (Zanzibar), replacing Mr Abdallah Juma Sadala.

Furthermore, the deputy minister for foreign affairs and East African Cooperation, Amb Mbarouk Nassor Mbarouk, was picked to serve as the party’s secretary for political affairs and international relations, replacing Col (Rtd) Ngemela Lubinga.

Mr Issa Haji Usi Gavu was appointed the party’s organisation secretary, replacing Maurdin Kastiko.

Six members of the central committee (CC) for the Mainland were also picked, including the re-appointment of former premier Mizengo Pinda, Mr Hassan Wakasuvi, who serves as regional chair for Tabora, and Ms Halima Mamuya, the former CCM women’s wing (UWT) secretary.

From Zanzibar, the appointed CC members were Mr Mohamed Abood Mohamed, Mr Nasir Ally, and Ms Leila Burhan.

Former CCM publicity secretary Mr Shaka was appointed to Kilosa as District Commissioner, replacing Mr Majidi Mwanga.

President Hassan made further appointments by replacing. At the CCM special meeting held on Sunday, October 22, 2023, she appointed former Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda to be the new secretary of ideology and publicity, replacing Ms Mjema.

Mr Makonda became the third secretary of ideology and publicity since President Hassan assumed office in three years.

As fate would have it, on November 30, 2023, CCM accepted the resignation of its Secretary-General, Daniel Chongolo, who requested to step down after he was implicated in malfeasance.

Mr Chongolo was the 11th CCM Secretary-General since its formation in 1977. When he was appointed in April 2021, he had replaced Dr Bashiru Ally.

The National Executives Council (NEC), in its Zanzibar meeting held on January 15, 2024, approved the appointment of the former Tanzanian Ambassador to Brazil and Egypt, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, as Mr Chongolo’s successor.

Recent reorganisation within CCM

But just this week, the CCM Deputy Secretary General, Mr Macha, was appointed Shinyanga Regional Commissioner. Ms Mndeme, a former CCM top official who served as Shinyanga Regional Commissioner, has been appointed as Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Vice President (Union and Environment).

The new development announced by the director of presidential communications, Zuhura Yunus, shows that the CCM chairperson hasn’t done the reorganisation within the ruling party.