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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Why the ruling hesitates to purge suspected party corrupt leaders

4th December 2011

It is now nearly two weeks since the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) held meetings of its highest constitutional organs, that is, the National Executive Conference (NEC) and the Central Committee (CC).

Political analysts continue to digest what happened during the anxiously awaited sessions and the importance, or rather significance of the resolutions made to the country’s political discourse.

One observation which ought to be made from the word ‘go’ is the fact that goings on in the ruling party are of interest to all of us, that is both party members and non members. Since CCM has had a grip on the political affairs of this nation for more than half a century, its influence on the development of the country, both positively and negatively, is quite significant.

One may as well add that the future of the nation is still in its hands, whether some of us like it or not. Under this kind of situation, deliberations which happen to take place at its top organs are too important to be ignored.

Of course the latest meetings under discussion had a special attraction, based on nothing else but the fact that one of the major items on the agenda was to address the leadership ethics, and reportedly take action against leaders within the party who are accused of involvement in grand corruption.

These had earlier apparently been asked to resign from their leadership positions in the party. There had been talk about skin shedding which simply means purging leaders tainted with corruption from the party.

Two things kept the entire nation burning with anxiety about the anticipated purge of alleged captains of corruption in political circles, or “mafisadi” from the grand old party, once reputed for its ethically upright leadership and zero tolerance to corruption in the African continent.

First, in a country eaten by corruption to the bone marrow, any move to attack it at the core is considered a big relief and gives people much hope.

A firm decision by the ruling party to start the anti-corruption battle from its own backyard would undoubtedly demonstrate the existence of political will to tackle the problem head on.

Second, it is clear that once the ruling party earnestly flexes its gigantic muscle to fight corruption, then other anti-corruption institutions and individual crusaders are not only likely to be encouraged to double their efforts, but will do so with awareness and assurance that highly placed corrupt elements in government and business circles will have nowhere to hide or seek rescue once the anti-corruption noose tightens around their necks.

What came out of the anticipated purge when the D-day set in? No news to write home about as we all know what happened - the much hyped event was a non-starter. The expected shock waves were not seen anywhere.

The real story has already unfolded. We are told a no-nonsense politician with a worrior background, who happens to be accused of corruption, miraculously neutralised the situation when a chance to defend himself came his way. He reportedly bluntly told his political peers not to play Brutus when most of them had skeletons in their cupboards. He challenged a non-sinner among them to volunteer and throw the first stone at the alleged sinner.

This was a master stroke which worked wonders, as it is reported that most of the ever tongue-wagging politicians recoiled to their shells. Yes, among them, politicians already filthy rich, known land grabbers, whose young sons and daughters have become overnight billionaires, government houses grabbers, owners of accounts in foreign countries etc.

Characters of this kind are naturally likely to be effectively brow-beaten and arm-twisted by a dare-devil peer. What lesson? Politicians in the ruling party are not likely to commit suicide by adopting a genuine purging process. Only the inevitable social change will cleanse or ditch the party, now smarting under a serious civil war.

Henry Muhanika is a Media Consultant [email protected]

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