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CCM`s future still hangs in balance

2nd December 2012
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When JK embarked on the party’s reconstruction project which was accompanied by the disastrous “Kujivua gamba” Campaign culminating in the ignominious dismissal of Makamba, lavish praise was swiftly heaped on JK in what was then described as “UAMUZI MGUMU NA WA KIHISTORIA” (Historic and hard decision) – not by me – I hasten to add.

On the face of it, those changes were aimed at fighting corruption from within the party and consequently alter the ruling party’s political trajectory. But a closer inspection of what transpired would clearly indicate that JK’s project – and indeed Wilson Mukama – had atrociously failed before it kicked – off.

Just recently we have seen similar cosmetic changes that saw Wilson Mukama, a man who had come in as a political messiah, also being consigned to the scrap heap. But this tells us something; that despite these attempts, CCM has continually remained less peaceable internally and more fragile and vulnerable externally than its fiercest rivals, CHADEMA.

The new faces, we are told – though I am not entirely convinced these faces are new – include Philip Mangula the new Vice Chairman and Abdulrahman Kinana (pictured), the new secretariat boss.

Perhaps the urgent question we should ask is why Kinana or Mangula? There are striking suggestions from some quarters that the duo have at least managed to keep their heads above water in the sea of corruption where everyone else is seemingly drowning.

The fundamental question Mangula and his ilk must face before they also follow Makamaba and Mukama’s path is corruption. But fighting corruption in order to bring the party back to its feet in this ultra – competitive and unforgiving political environment is an enormous task far beyond the combined capacity of Mangula and Kinana.

CCM’s best days are behind them and the uphill challenge they face right now is the inevitable price they must pay for taking people’s unquestioning loyalty for granted. Sadly for them, people have now realised that the rhetoric of political slogans like “AMANI NA UTULIVU” is simply snake oil.

Kinana and company must therefore face people with a more pragmatic approach offering more practical solution than words if they intend to weather the storm. Just presenting themselves wearing green colours in political rallies is by no means enough to merit continued support from the people. Issues such as poverty, corruption, health and quality education need to be adequately addressed.

A lot has been said about the Chinese paradox, if you like. Only a few can dispute the fact that what drove the Chinese economy was the largest immigration of people in the History of mankind from the Chinese country side to the urban China thereby providing cheap labour.

But one thing is beyond doubt; the labour force in China is incredibly skillful, suggesting that China had invested heavily in its education system and consequently the country has managed to lift 600 million people out of poverty and if International Monetary Fund is anything to go by China’s GDP will overtake that of the United States in the next four years – although it is still the same communist party that is pulling the strings.

In Tanzania, where CCM die – hard romantics believe Mangula and Kinana will help transform the party’s fortunes, the story is precisely the opposite.

This is the country where education ministers who have displayed a woeful neglect of the decline in the quality of education can still keep their job. Politicians in Bongoland scarcely acknowledge the fact that investment in education is not only socially beneficial; it is good economics as well. The returns to investment in education are enormous. Literate and numerate people always provide more productive and efficient labour force.

I wasn’t overly surprised when Clause Msemwa, my SUA colleague, told me a fascinating story about pupils who made to secondary school after passing standard seven exams only to discover they could barely write their names. Msemwa went on to tell me how even MPs straggle to get their representatives to SADC.

Let’s face it; our education system is simply disastrous to say the least. Just look at the atrociously awful public schools were the class size is ridiculously large and teachers are more often than not asleep or absent. I don’t intend to go into the details of the ill – fated teachers strike but I can’t see how Mangula or Kinana, our new messiah can help to incentivise the education system and ultimately deliver quality education the country needs.

Wilson Mukama, before he was officially declared “surplus to requirements” had made no secret of his zero – tolerance to corruption giving what they called corrupt element 90 days to leave the party.

But I don’t think he can now proudly look back and say he achieved what he intended to achieve although we can still point to Rostam Aziz’s unceremonious departure from active politics as his only contribution of note. I doubt whether Phillip Mangula and Abdulahman Kinana are any different.

The fight against corruption is incessantly proving easier to preach than to practice and this is one of the vices that have held CCM at arm’s length from the people. I might be wrong but I honestly find it difficult to see how Mangula and Kinana will restrain the grabbing hand of rapacious politicians in and around the party that have kept the country’s resources in the hands of a thin elite class at the expense of everyone else.

Even before the issues relating to the long list of corruption scandals – EPA, RICHMOND and or DOWANS – are yet to be revolved, more distressing stories have emerged about an awful lot of stolen Dollars stashed in overseas accounts. The names of those involved have been deliberately kept under – wraps but the recent government appeal to the public to reveal the names is simply ridiculous. Without political will to fight corruption and exemplary imprisonment of the perpetrators then nothing can be achieved.

Finally, probably most importantly let’s closely examine the political cohesion within the ruling party. Lurking around the party is the poisonous lack of political unity although some people have swiftly suggested that Mangula’s reintroduction to the party leadership will help bring unity back to CCM and this will spell a threat to CHADEMA’S ascendance.

I will explain why such views are utterly wrong. No doubt the question of cohesion is fundamental to the very existence of the party. To address it, one needs to roll back the years and find out what had gone wrong when unity went out the window like a departing spirit. Traditionally, the party’s political survival takes precedence over personal interests and desires of its individual member.

I am afraid this no longer the case. There are greedy individuals in and around the party that employ unorthodox methods and whose political desires and presidential ambitions outstrip the party’s interests and indeed threatens its survival.

Of course Sumaye is past tense now but we have heard a lot about Bernard Membe, another presidential hopeful whose seat at the NEC was retained thanks to the improvised efforts of the first Lady and Ridhiwan Kikwete. And then there is Edward Lowassa, a very powerful and influential figure who for decades now has been looking at the State House the way a hungry Tiger looks at a prospective meal.

Lowassa is not getting any younger and he vehemently considers 2015 as his last card of the game and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Now, with Kinana and Mangula on board, it is really fascinating to see how CMM will get to grips with this politically frightening state of affairs without tearing itself apart.

 

You can reach me via biasharadennis@yahoo.com also on face book.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY