CCM eyes new propaganda chief as Makonda exit stirs speculation

What you need to know:

  • The succession is crucial not only for the party’s stability but also its effectiveness in engaging with opposition forces

Dar es Salaam. The replacement of Paul Makonda (pictured)as the CCM secretary for ideology and publicity is the subject of much speculation as the ruling party convenes its crucial meetings in Dar es Salaam this week.

Political analysts are also speculating on who will be the next Deputy Secretary General (Tanzania Mainland) after Mr Anamringi Macha’s appointment as the Regional Commissioner for Shinyanga.

In her latest appointments, President Samia Suluhu Hassan also appointed the CCM’s Youth Wing (UV-CCM) General Secretary Fakii Lulandala to become the new Simanjiro District Commissioner. Lulandala replaces Dr Suleiman Serera, who has been appointed as the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Culture, Arts, and Sports.

Likewise, CCM Parents’ Wing Secretary-General Gilbert Kalima is the new Mkinga District Commissioner.

With four key positions in the party’s secretariat left vacant due to recent appointments to government roles, the stakes are high for CCM as it seeks to fill these crucial roles with individuals capable of leading the party to victory in the upcoming elections.

Tanzanians will be electing their local government leaders later this year, while a general election will be held next year.

However, the focus of attention remains on the position vacated by Paul Makonda, the former regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam. This position holds significant sway, particularly in the lead-up to the local government and general elections.

The succession here is viewed as critical not only for the stability of the party but also for its ability to effectively engage with opposition forces.

The search for Makonda’s successor has sparked intense speculation within CCM circles and among Tanzanian citizens.

The party is acutely aware of the need to find a candidate capable of resonating with the grassroots while also confronting the challenges posed by the opposition.

 The successful candidate must be adept at building consensus within the party while also articulating a compelling vision that resonates with the broader populace.

Among the names floated as potential successors, there is a mix of seasoned politicians and emerging leaders. Figures like Amos Makalla, Ally Hapi, and John Mongella bring experience and gravitas to the table, while younger leaders like Jokate Mwengelo and Kenani Kihongosi offer fresh perspectives and energy.

Regional commissioners Anthony Mtaka (Njombe) and Martin Shigella of Geita are also being mentioned as possible successors for Mr Makonda’s role.

In political circles, Makalla and Mongella are seen as potential candidates for the positions of Deputy Secretary-General for the Mainland and Secretary-General of the Parents’ Association, respectively, due to their charisma and age. They are less seen in propaganda because this position requires more youth, as evidenced by the nearly five previous incumbents.

The five previous incumbents in these positions were Nape Nnauye, Humphrey Polepole, Shaka Hamdu Shaka, Sophia Mjema, and Paul Makonda.


Given the sensitivity of the propaganda position and its reflection on the party, whoever succeeds Makonda should be someone who has a deep understanding of the politics of the lower class, according to the perspective of a Political Science Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (Udsm), Dr Sabatho Nyamsenda.

Dr Nyamsenda said that the lower class, which constitutes the majority of the population, has been somewhat neglected, and thus, what is needed is someone who can advocate for this group.

He pointed out that the previous chairman of the party, John Magufuli, succeeded in gaining significant influence among this group, and that is where his popularity came from.

 However, currently, he said there is a split within the party between two groups: one that upholds Magufuli’s principles and another associated with the party’s network.

He described the network group as consisting of long-time CCM members, including big businessmen and investors from within and outside the country. This group is, however, viewed as being associated with corruption and oppressing the weak.

On the other hand, the group advocating for the continuation of Magufuli’s principles seeks to represent the interests of the lower class. “We need someone who understands not just by imitation but truly understands what the lower class needs to push forward his party and has the strength to push his party to focus on the interests of the lower class,” said Dr Nyamsenda.

According to the scholar, CCM needs a propagandist who has the ability to reconcile the conflicting groups within the party.

Another requirement, he said, is that CCM needs someone who can conduct research, respond to arguments, and have a demeanour that can counter opponents without relying on state machinery.

“Unfortunately, no one had that except Humphrey Polepole. You may not like him for some reason, but he is someone whose research abilities are excellent,” he said.

A political analyst, Mr Ezekiel Kamwaga, said CCM needs someone who can unite its members.

Another criterion is a person who can help the party win the upcoming elections, regardless of the current political environment.

“They will choose someone trusted by the President because this is not the time to get someone whose words and actions conflict with the Chairman of the Party,” Kamwaga said.

Cadres’ perspective

CCM cadres see this position as needing someone who can counter the arguments of the fierce opposition leaders such as Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe and his deputy, Tundu Lissu, as well as former MPs John Heche and Godbless Lema.

“With the current politics after the death of Magufuli (John) and towards the upcoming elections, I tell you we need propagandists like Makonda and Sabaya who have the ability to build arguments. That’s why Makonda was appointed RC,” hinted one cadre.

“Don’t forget, our chairman is full of surprises. Who knew he would appoint Makonda as the Secretary for Ideology and now RC of Arusha? She did the same with Jokate Mwegelo as the Secretary-General of the CCM Women’s Wing (UWT),” explained another cadre.

“Currently, CCM is looking for someone who can lead us through this election turmoil. The upcoming election is very tough. It is not a walk in the park, especially with the president’s statements about wanting free and fair elections. The party needs a team with people who can build arguments and take a stand. Even Mtaka (Anthony-RC Njombe) can do it.”

A member of parliament from the Lake Zone regions told this newspaper that another person who is currently seen as politically savvy is Kheri James, who was the former national chairman of the party’s youth wing and is now the district commissioner of Iringa.

Written by Daniel Mjema (Moshi), Juma Issihaka and Tuzo Mapunda (Dar).