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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

He weaved his cabinet for six days and rested on the seventh

6th May 2012

After ‘weaving’ his new cabinet for six days he called in the scribes, announced the lucky ones and on the seventh day he rested. The day passed, the night passed. And the name of the Lord was glorified in yet another milestone in the challenging journey towards the Promised Land.

But there are mixed views regarding the drama which started in the august parliamentary session two weeks ago in which MPs sternly demanded government accountability.

Some analysts give credit to President Jakaya Kikwete who has, since coming to power, allowed the Controller and Auditor General’s report to be closely scrutinized in Parliament by representatives of the wananchi.

However, critics don’t think so. They are of the view that Kikwete’s government has not taken any concrete steps to stop thievery and impunity since it came to power.

They think this country has, from time to time, experienced some cosmetic changes here and there meant to sweep the mess under the carpet to mollify a political crisis. Seasoned commentators suggest that such political gimmicks have a tendency to work miracles for the beneficiaries, at least for sometime, before they are blown away - like the colourful soap bubbles - by another inherent crisis.

The ruling party, CCM, is genuinely a survivour. In the first three decades of independence when it was TANU, and later on CCM, the party’s survival hinged on principles that gave it genuine legitimacy. Despite some fundamental limitations to the application of its ideology, still the party had genuine support of the masses because it talked to them in their own language. Not any more.

The revival of the multiparty system, free market economy and, later on, the death of CCM’s architect, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, left the party in disarray. In its bid to survive, the ruling party has used whatever magic trick available at its disposal to continue hanging on to power. But some of the tricks, which are now haunting the party, will eventually dig its grave.

As I have commented in the past, the ruling party epitomises a movement that encapsulates an odd combination of aristocrats, paupers, merchants, robbers, the deprived, the clergy, believers, atheists, toddlers, the senile, liberals, conservatives, traditionalists, socialists, capitalists, witches, the righteous, the nameless, royals, hustlers, conmen, peasants - and everybody else. Yet they constitute not more than a tenth of the entire population.

Although this trick – of inviting everybody in to fill the dock - was supposed to add strength to the party it, naturally, will turn out to be CCM’s own undoing. Such a melting pot can hardly communicate using the same language.

In recent years it has become increasingly evident that even cabinet ministers can come out in public and disagree violently to the chagrin of the state.

During the strike by doctors early this year, President Kikwete acknowledged that some of his appointees did not see eye to eye. Some ministers do not talk to their deputies; some deputies do not talk to their permanent secretaries. Some directors appear more powerful than their permanent secretaries, etc.

In a melting pot of frogs, toads, snakes, tortoises, butterflies, birds, millipedes, flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mice, et al., expecting them to speaking the same language is expecting too much. Each species in such an island automatically ends up thinking about, and working towards, its own survival.

Because of this, as well as other reasons, the new cabinet may not necessarily be the solution to the chronic malaise afflicting this country. And since President Kikwete is coming to the end of his term, he should brace himself for some more embarrassing episodes of rebellion from his own appointees.

Of course there are those members of the melting pot who have been sidelined in this government who must also begin to plan for 2015. Those reading political trends in this country can clearly see that only a miracle will save the ruling party from the eventuality that is now all too obvious.

For any far-sighted CCM member, to salvage their party’s political fortunes in the coming elections they might have to distance themselves from the current government.

They may have to do that either through dramatic resignations or by making bizarre statements that clearly contradict their own government but appease their voters.

Towards the end of this administration President Kikwete will be surprised to learn just how few trusted buddies he has had in his entire political career because already, to many of his aides, he no longer matters in the post-2015 politics. Mark my words.

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