Tanzania is a potentially prosperous country blessed with vast resources; the country is the third largest producer of gold in Africa. We also have diamonds, tanzanite, untapped reserves of oil and gas, tourist attractions including Africa’s highest point Mount Kilimanjaro and millions of acres of uncultivated land.
These resources have not generated the required momentum for progress as the country has been a victim of both the past and the present.
People entrusted CCM with power throughout the post-independence decade and power has been changing hands but nothing else has changed. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, the gap is widening. Then it would be justifiably okay for people to look elsewhere.
CCM and its government are seemingly running out of ideas. The party now is walking into the lake and surprisingly, they have kept walking.
What JK is doing in his failed attempt to steady the ship, is to paper over the cracks without addressing the main issues that have led to this unfortunate and worrying state of affairs.
JK’s recent chopping and changing of his cabinet saw the injection of new blood with the likes of Professor Sospeter Muhongo and Dr. William Mgimwa, drafted in to take the seats vacated by Mustapha Mkulo, William Ngeleja, etc.
These changes came hot on the heels of one of the most heated parliamentary debates in which legislators, both from CCM and the opposition put their attendance allowance differences aside - albeit temporarily - to deal with corrupt ministers.
There are disturbing revelations from the CAG report that ministers with morals of a hyena had turned public offices into goldmines leaving the country’s economy in pretty poor shape and the government treasury nearly in the red.
On May Day occasion, JK with his customary politeness and trade mark smile proclaimed that he was pleased with the hot debate in Parliament, insisting that it was he who emphasised the need to have CAG reports deliberated upon in the House.
Forgive me if I’m wrong but I opt to disagree. There were growing whispers that JK’s response was lukewarm and had actually tagged the heated debate as a passing wind and that it was only a matter of time and things would cool down.
Sadly for him, what he hadn’t realised was the fact that he wasn’t dealing with ordinary wind but a hurricane. What happened in Parliament must have slowed JK’s heart beats. Besides- with Zitto Kabwe’s petition gaining momentum and threatening to put JK’s most trusted lieutenant Mizengo Pinda on a knife edge, a change was not only needed but inevitable.
JK’s REACTIVE rather than PROACTIVE leadership style is the making of CCM’s downfall. Since the departure of Mwalimu Nyerere, CCM are sorely missing a leader with the awareness and anticipation of a cat capable of foreseeing and acting precociously to avert crisis.
It came as no surprise to me when I heard that Dr Mponda and his deputy were among the casualties as these two were at the epicenter of the doctors’ crisis and the country’s health sector had deteriorated beyond description.
This worrying state of affairs culminated into the Loliondo craze.
News that there was an alternative cure in Loliondo exploded like a hand grenade triggering mass exodus with patients descending on Loliondo for treatment the way bees descend on flowers for nectar. Things went from bad to worse when patients scrambled out of hospital beds to Loliondo, resulting in a humanitarian catastrophe. I was nearly coming to tears when I learnt that even ministers perceived Loliondo as a solution rather than a problem and encouraged people to go there, after they went there themselves. The presence of high profile leaders in Loliondo must have misled the common man to believe the cure actually works although it is common knowledge that there was no diagnosis before treatment and the patients received the same dose irrespective of their varying illnesses. This prompted conspiracy theorists to suggest these leaders were never sick–they used Loliondo as a ploy to ease patient congestion in government hospitals and sadly I have come to agree with them. The undeniable truth is that when these ministers fall sick they get flown out of the country to INDIA or other countries where the health sector is given the attention it deserve. So Loliondo was not as medically relevant to the ministers as it was to the common people.
CCM political ideals have long been thrown overboard and the survival of the fittest is the new approach. Throwing money around during elections as if they own money printing machines is the name of the game.
The war against poverty, ignorance and disease is a thing of the past. Their gospel right now is “Money fixes everything” and this is their undoing. Personal gains outstrip national interests.
There are also growing divisions among the members of the elite and their differences are irreconcilable, fatal at worst. Consequently, the cohesion they had enjoyed for most of the post-colonial decades went out the window like a departing spirit. Apparently no one in CCM ranks can fix the situation. The mighty CCM that was once roaring like a lion is now left to look like a frightened rabbit.
Nyerere is long gone, whose tactics appeared to have brought a semblance of order in 1995 in the build up to the country’s first multiparty elections.
In 1995 Mrema, who is now past his expiry date was used by Nyerere as a decoy without the knowledge of unsuspecting CCM members when Mrema crossed the border to the opposition.
Nyerere’s idea was to create a counterfeit but seemingly strong opposition party in NCCR- Mageuzi and subsequently use it to bring all the influential characters and presidential hopefuls like Malecela under his armpit and handpicked then “Mr. Clean” to be the eventual CCM candidate with startling ease.
He just told them that “CCM was not his mother,” in which case he could abandon it if he was convinced it was going up a blind alley in leadership, especially the choice of a presidential candidate. His statement caused a tremor in the central committee meeting and John Malecela was forced to withdraw his candidature, and he never recovered from the shock.
Mwalimu even went an extra mile by deploying his son Makongoro who joined NCCR to add weight to his statement and make it look like he too was on his way if CCM did not dance to his tune. The rest was just a formality. In the end, Mrema felt hard, done by and his “Nyerere has betrayed me” whine confirmed this.
All along Mrema was blindly made to believe Nyerere was on his side–but he wasn’t and didn’t care and he campaigned for his “Mr Clean” in State House and NCCR was as short- lived as paper fire (Makongoro, for reasons best known to himself is back in CCM, while Mrema sneaked out to TLP. Mabere Marando manufactured his exit under the guise of helping CHADEMA). The only remnant of the struggling NCCR James Mbatia is now a nominated MP. How things change and how fast things change!
The Lowassa factor
Edward Lowassa who has widely been regarded as instrumental in the installation of the new speed reign remains a powerful influence in the party although the Richmond scandal still hangs on his neck like a curse and his relationship with his former boss has somewhat soured after the ill-advised skin shedding campaign.
Lowassa is one of the divisive figures in the ruling party and his presidential ambitions give him a strong desire to go to any length to get his way. He has been pointing an accusing figure at the government he once worked for and using the church as his platform. He is now portraying himself as a bright and forward-thinking politician raising questions over the way JK’s government is tacking unemployment.
Lowassa is racking his brains to have the Richmond thing shaken off–but if Mwakyembe’s report is anything to go by, the deadly Richmond scandal had Lowassa’s finger prints all over it.
Nevertheless, Lowassa has two obsessions: MONEY and POWER, State House power if you like- and he is not going to let go of it without a fight but his tactics are proving detrimental, and will surely leave CCM in tatters come 2015.
Things went from bad to worse when James Millya, the former Arusha CCM youth secretary turned his back on the party and joined their fiercest foes, CHADEMA opening floodgate to large defections from the ruling party. CHADEMA is now attracting CCM members the way a magnet attracts pins. From what I have seen in the recent past, CCM is now collapsing like a pack of cards and unless something is done to clean up the mess, CHADEMA are in their way to State House.
As for JK’s new cabinet, this is not the first time JK has shuffled and reshuffled his cabinet and his cabinet reshuffle looked like an accident waiting to happen. If you asked me whether this new cabinet is going to be an exception that proves the rule, my answer is an emphatic NO.
The writer is based in Lusaka, Zambia and can be reached via [email protected] also on face book.