Several Swahili newspapers reported in October that during elections for leadership positions in CCM’s mass organisations there had been further dissension. The party’s Central Committee and National Executive Committee (NEC) rejected certain prominent candidates. Party members wanted to know why they had disqualified Musoma Rural (MP) Nimrod Mkono for the party’s Parents’ Wing (Wazazi) and a final decision was postponed. For the CCM Women’s Wing a controversial candidate had stated that she wanted to withdraw from the race because of ‘corruption and dirty campaigning’ but was eventually allowed to stand. For the Youth Wing (UVCCM), it was decided that the chairman should come from Zanzibar and that a controversial candidate named Nape Nnauye, who had been expelled earlier as a member allegedly for uttering unproved statements against the party’s senior leaders, should not be allowed to stand. But he remains a National Executive Committee (NEC) member.
CCM’s Secretary General Yusuf Makamba was criticised following the by-election defeat (see below) but no action was taken – Majira.
Government reacts forcefully
Mwana Halisi published a story to the effect that several top CCM officials were plotting to make it difficult for President Kikwete to win the next election in 2010. The Government then asked Mwana Halisi to show reason why steps should not be taken against it over this conspiracy story. In the past the paper had been warned several times about its radical stories according to Majira.
One day after this the State House Director of Communications, Salva Rweyemamu, told the press that the story was a pack of lies aimed at tarnishing the image of Kikwete and his family (his son was mentioned in the story), while instigating hatred among the leadership. He said allegations were a figment of imagination of the newspaper aimed at boosting its sales. Meanwhile, one of the politicians named in the story filed a lawsuit against the editor of the paper, Saed Kubenea, as well as its publishers and printers.
Kubenea said he stood by his story and was prepared to meet the bigwigs in court – Mwananchi.
Mwana Halisi was then banned for three months by the government.
Editors from different media houses staged a peaceful demonstration to register their opposition to the ban and marched with sealed mouths, illustrating how the government was silencing the media and suppressing its freedom. Placards read: ‘Mwana Halisi is banned but the corrupt leaders are still in office.’ ‘Who revealed the EPA, Richmond and UVCCM scandals?’
But some journalists said that the protest was instigated by CHADEMA and that some locally-engaged staff from the British, Swedish and Netherlands embassies had also taken part. President of the Tanzania Journalists Association (TAJA), Hamza Kondo, said the whole episode was politically motivated. He said the story on Kikwete lacked attribution, objectivity and balance. Mwana Halisi was also criticised by the Media Council of Tanzania’s Secretary General Kajubi Mukajanga.
Minister for Information, Culture and Sports, Capt George Mkuchika then banned the paper for three months. He said the tabloid had been publishing stories ‘inciting hatred’ among the government and CCM leadership and even within the president’s family. The ban would serve as a ‘lesson for others’ – the Guardian and virtually all other newspapers.
On November 11 the CCM’s NEC admitted that there had been foul play in its internal elections and it was calling for amendment of legislation governing leadership ethics.
CCM publicity secretary John Chiligati said the fate of Nape Nnauye`s appeal regarding his expulsion from the UVCCM membership lay in President Kikwete’s hands. He said Nnauye had appealed to President Kikwete and the normal procedure was to submit his petition to Secretary General Yusuf Makamba, who would forward it to the NEC secretariat.
Nape said he would not want to compel the President on the issue. He said he was sure that the President would work fairly on the appeal at an opportune moment. Nape was expelled from the UVCCM apparently for revealing party secrets and alleging that UVCCM had a business partnership with a private company, which was putting up a multi-storey building in Dar es Salaam – Guardian.