'This is the unending dispute of a half full cup and half empty cup, that it is the same thing depending on what one sees, or interprets what is visible. As the ruling party formally installed its new chairperson, President Samia Suluhu Hassan and quickly moved to revamp its secretariat, plenty of this scenario was visible, and the dispute therein.
In handing over the reins of office to the president, and in a sequence of speeches affirming the way the ruling party handles its affairs, the periodic transfer of office from one person or batch of leaders to another was the keynote element. Little did it come up that not so long ago powerful elements in CCM, lined up in the legislature and elsewhere, were actually working to wreck this procedure. Much as the party leadership rejected the cancellation of term limits in the key office of president, danger was vivid.
The reason was apparently that CCM – or a substantial portion of it – had become so enthralled in the performance of the country’s leader that they thought change to be unthinkable. Yet, as all of us are human and painstakingly fragile with age and disease, excess longevity is only taken up at the expense of effectiveness, which the high punching group in the legislature must have been able to imagine. A leader who is in pain can’t follow up in the usual assiduous manner who is suspected of misconduct in public finances and what to do about it, only signing pieces of paper to authorise all doings of ‘yes men’ all over.
Hard as it may appear but one is forced to imagine that this campaign to destabilise party traditions with decades of loyal leaders who observed it and left office may have infuriated those who watch over us, as Tanzania has a national anthem wholly immersed in the contemplation of God, not just patriotic feelings.
Term limits enable a breadth of citizens who don’t feel well under the skin with any current leadership or presidency specifically to exercise patience until the limit is reached, and lay hopes in change. When men fail in their duties, or plan to digress from cherished responsibilities, they may actually cause a tragedy.
So there is a degree to which CCM itself was being renewed in its faith in internal democracy, after the zeal to build a ‘new Tanzania’ derailed the faith of some of them from this path, especially as they wanted the ‘breathing problem’ faced by opposition parties to continue indefinitely. Listening to what was said in the special electoral congress to formalize the chairmanship of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, one could clearly see a solid reaffirmation of these values, making a digression into error unlikely in future. But it was a hard climb, that a portion of CCM is only being reawakened to these values after tragedy struck, as usually such deviations are tailored around a person. We often see single individuals as indispensable, but divinity may often remind us that everyone is finally but a limited quantity, as the whole is what matters. Forced to live without those we couldn’t let go, we adapt and move on, as it is now happening in CCM .