Tanzania: Revolution as ruling party’s top leadership resigns

By Own Correspondent, Dodoma – No words can explain what happened  last night within the Tanzanian ruling party CCM following confirmed news of a forced resignation of both the National Secretariat lead by General  Secretary Yusuph Makamba and the National Central Committee (CC) headed by the national chairman who is also the incumbent President, Jakaya Kikwete.

According to the news confirmed by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Captain (rtd) John Chiligati here in the political Capital, Dodoma, the resignation of the two top decision making bodies was effected to “help the chairman reform the party,” in a meeting that took 2 days chaired by President Kikwete himself in Dodoma.

However impeccable sources and political scenario in Tanzania show all reveal of a forced move to enable the party reforms. Recently President Kikwete addressing his party supporters hinted on the need for his party to reform itself from within or else face removal from power.

One of the issues that have disturbed the party’s credibility to the public includes allegation of corruption and embezzlement of public funds among its top cadres who held government positions.

Three of its National Central Committee member’s for instance faced stiff allegations of misuse of power or involving in corruption. Edward Lowassa a former Premier and close friend of President Kikwete since University days had to resign following his direct involvement in the Richmond power project where he supervised and issued directions that made the fake US company sign a multibillion contract which at the end it failed to deliver.

Rostam Aziz another member of the Committee and close ally to the President, is a name in a number of scandals including the Kagoda saga where some Sh. 40 billion were taken by his company from the Central Bank of Tanzania in mysterious way. Rostam was also found later to be a figure behind the Richmond scandal.

Former Attorney General, Andrew Chenge is another member of the Central Committee whose presence was felt negatively by the public. He was officially named as a suspect by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in a deal where Tanzania purchased inflated military radar from the BAE System.

Chenge was found to have deposited some 500,000 sterling pound in a Jersey foreign account, the money he had not declared to the local Ethics Secretariat where top leaders file they wealthy status every after a new term.

Although the SFO later on cleared him of a no link to the radar bribery, questions lingered as to the source of the huge amount of money owned by a public servant from a poor country like Tanzania.

While at the Central Committee at least political analysts saw this was the main reasons for the party’s failure to lead a meaningful war against corruption, the Secretariat was said to be weak to advise the party on crucial matter.

The political divisions at the Central Committee where some members declared themselves as anti corrupt ring lead by former Speaker of the National Parliament, Samuel Sitta and current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Membe; such faults trickled down to the Secretariat.

While the General Secretary, Yusuph Makamba a retired former middle cadre army official was associated with receiving instructions from the corrupt linked group, Membe who was the Secretariat’s Secretary for International Affairs manifested himself as a staunch critic of any embezzlements or amoral.

The last October General election was the last pinch to push for reforms within CCM. The party lost massively. The presidential votes that CCM candidate got, dropped from 80% in 2005 to 62% in 2010 and many incumbent CCM MPs lost in their constituencies with the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) sweeping across as a favourable alternative party.

Chadema took issues with the embezzlement issues in its national agenda revealing to the people on how CCM’s National Committee members are linked to great scandals and the effects that trickle down to the lives of the people leading to a good number of voters boycotting CCM.

Following the changes, CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is meeting today in Dodoma to select a new Secretariat and members of the Central Committee (CC).