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Is CCM a party in perpetual transition?

Sunday May 02 2021
CCM wajumbe
By Erick Mwakibete

What do ordinary CCM members make of their party as a new, history making chairperson takes charge? Is it a party they can still relate to? Is it a party that still speaks to them, about their visions? About their fears? About their expectations? About their dreams? Is it still the party of workers and farmers?
Looking at recent events, with the passing of CCM’s immediate former chairperson, Dr John Magufuli, and some the position of CCM’s secretary general being vacant, it seems to be a party in transition.
Even without these events, it is a party that will hold intra-party elections in 2022.
That too will come with new characters, and some of the current national leadership members are old and might be heading for retirement.
It is a party that not so long ago rewrote its rule book, making some seismic changes on how it elects its leaders and how it picks candidates for national elections.
Viewed through the multiparty era, CCM has been a party in constant transition, one which has failed to find an ideological balance and increasingly leaning on individuals and state organs for survival from time to time.
With the changes of the early 1990s, where CCM became a political tent for all sorts of characters, Mwalimu equated that situation with CCM being a party that pullee everything and everyone, that it collected all manners of garbage without being able to dispose it. Can the situation today be said to be any different?
It is a party that has worked tirelessly to attract new members regardless of their political stripes. As political competition intensified, CCM pulled all manners of tricks to keep opposition parties perpetually weak.
At times, the long ruling party did not have to do anything with opposition parties using a lot of energy and time fighting among themselves leaving all those standing in the end as weak and incapable of raising any serious challenges.
With each passing year, it became a party that could not hold the government’s it formed to proper account because it was too riven with factionalism, which led it further adrift from the shore.
In its efforts to reconnect with those it claims to represent, it sent a former secretary general and his team to speak the same language as outsiders, and the trick worked!
Then, it turned its attention within. Despite asserting supremacy over other parties, it is a party in perpetual search of saboteurs, and traitors. It is a party that constantly looks over its shoulders. Even near absolute victory in 2020 did not spare it the constant headaches.
The governments it formed have done relatively well in the last five years, but that has not been enough to assure the powers that be, that the party is strong enough to keep at bay opposition parties on political podiums.
It is a party whose finances are unmatched by its competitors, courtsey of many reasons from its longevity in power, to a purpoted vast network of members across the country. But these members do not all pay their dues to their party. It had terrible book keeping record where despite all its many properties across the country, it is constantly dependent on funds from elsewhere, especially wealthy individuals.
It is this party that President Samia Suluhu Hassan is inheriting.
It is a very different beast from the government she leads. This one takes time to tame. She inherits a party where allegations of corruption are commonplace even with all the reforms during its primary processes and othee intra-party elections. She inherits a party that is relatively asserting its dominance over the governments it has formed but one which is still miles away from truly representing the aspirations of young people.
Given the nature of the political landscape today, it is difficult to say, just how much support the long ruling party enjoys if it does not lean on the state.
The new chairperson should refocus her party from a state of perpetual transition, where it is obsessed with its survival to a party that, once again will be focused on serving, for her success in government depends on her success in the party.