Opinion: Of gamblers, opportunists and parrots in the political arena

Sunday August 01 2021
Gamblers pic

CCM’s Mwanza region chairman Antony Diallo. PHOTO | FILE

By Erick Mwakibete

Chadema, their leaders and those allied to them politically, have long made known of their verdict about former President John Magufuli’s time in office. He did away with CCM’s hypocrisy about multipartism and dealt them heavy political blows. Since the return of multipartism, the opposition had never dealt with such a political character. As such it was no surprise that when President Samia Suluhu Hassan took over power, with her early decisions which indicated a different approach on a range of things, they were gushing in their praises.

They were quick to notice that she was active online and her speeches conciliatory in tone. They noted something else too about this president: she pays attention to what is said or written about her government. They had accused her immediate predecessor of being a ‘dictator’ and had lobbied for the government to be sanctioned by the powerful actors in global politics.

For the last few months since she came to power, Chadema and their leaders have made calculated efforts through their speeches and actions to see just how far they can go with the new president in their efforts to deliver their message. Some recent legal victories about past defeats have emboldened them. They took the gamble and called for public rallies.

The government’s reaction to their meeting and detaining some of their leaders paid off in terms of international media and their headlines of the country. They have been harsh online about the new president because they know she has a presence there. One of the unfortunate things is that they have claimed that recent events have brought out ‘a Magufuli in Samia’. Where this strategy goes in the long run will be interesting but what is without a doubt is that this political gamble is, among other things, aiming for 2025 and making sure that they make it there with some damage done to this president’s record.

That works just fine for them.

In the midst of all this, there have been other developments from some individuals within the ruling party, CCM, who have offered their own assessment of the immediate former president and his time in office. CCM’s Mwanza region chairman Antony Diallo made headlines recently with his indictment of the fifth phase government even courting controversy with some of his remarks about mental health of previous leaders. Some within CCM were quick to offer their own harsh rebuttal about him and perhaps that could have played a part in him, somewhat walking back on some of what he said, claiming he was misunderstood.

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He even urged vigilance for CCM members against ‘infiltrators’. However, he is not the first leader within CCM to offer his mind in unflattering way about some of the decisions made by the fifth phase government. Many CCM MPs have done so, completely disregarding what they have told us for the last five years. What should be of concern here is that these very individuals had been singing a very different tune during the fifth phase government. Can anyone really, in their sane mind trust what they hear now? It is the same individuals speaking with many, different tongues. Regardless, some, especially in the opposition and critics of the former president have seized on such comments every time to prove a thing or two. But they are missing the point.

Either way, these have clearly sensed that there will be no severe political backlash for what they say about the past. They know their party better than most.

Then there are those within CCM who parrot a time-tasted and perfected phrase of letting the person in charge of party and country go for a second term in office uncontested. With President Samia holding her cards close to her chest leaving her party and country guessing as to her political moves come 2025, that gives room for those who wish to succeed her to start making plans of their own. These avoid any mention of critiquing the past, they are safe either way the political wind blows in the future.

In a political party that is known for its byzantine tactics when it comes to the presidency, the safest place to be, especially for those who harbour their own political ambition is in a shade where one’s shadow is nowhere to be seen.

Gamblers, opportunists and parrots, though on the dance floor now are all keen to make sure that once the music stops, they are not left standing awkwardly as others take their seats on the table.