by David Brewin
The ruling CCM party has been remarkably successful for almost fifty years through tight discipline, dealing with dissident elements internally and behind closed doors. It has never been defeated in a general election.
Prospects for CCM to maintain this record in the next election, in 2015, look strong. The leading opposition party, Chadema, which had been growing in strength for several years, is now in crisis.
In dealing with its most dynamic, charismatic and ambitious young MP (for Kigoma North), Zitto Kabwe, the policy has been to give him more and more responsibility. He is (or was) deputy secretary general of the party and its deputy leader in parliament. He is also shadow minister of finance and chairman of parliament’s finance committee (and other important committees).
It was a surprise therefore when, in November, he and two other senior party figures were stripped of all their positions except party membership. They were accused of eleven offences and preparation of a secret ‘conspiring manifesto.’ They were given until mid-December to explain why the party should not expel them. There followed the resignations of Ally Chitanda, secretary in the office of the party’s secretary general (who complained about religious segregation, tribalism and excessive payments to executives) and Said Arfi, national vice chairman of the party.
CCM had greatly feared the increasingly strong Chadema party, but its members and supporters are likely to have a more merry Christmas after these startling events.