Dodoma — THE Chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), President Jakaya Kikwete, assured his party's Central Committee that the Ethics Committee has done a great job of vetting candidates and has come up with reasonable recommendations and opinions.
President Kikwete said this when opening the Central Committee meeting here. The CC is the third organ of the ruling party which is also responsible for vetting candidates after members of the secretariat and the ethics committee have done their job.
The vetting exercise remains with one more step which is the final one. This step involves the party's National Executive Committee (NEC)."We have had a long and tough meeting given the large number of candidates. The vetting team had to screen more than 5,000 people most of whom are well-educated and have what it takes to win the posts they desire," he said.
President Kikwete noted that the ethics committee, whose job took three days instead of one, has come up with different suggestions from those shunted in from regional levels. "We have gone through one name after the other and made a thorough analysis of names which were endorsed at regional level and those disqualified. Eventually they came up with different suggestions for a good reason," he said.
President Kikwete noted that given the good job done by the Ethics Committee, he was optimistic that the CC meeting would take only one day to finish its work. "I am optimistic that we may need only a short time to finish our work. I assume that we may finish the job in the middle of the night and give more time to the NEC to finish the remaining part," he said.
President Kikwete noted further that the huge number of people who have come out to contest in the various posts of leadership was a sign that the party was still strong and popular. "There are those who erroneously believed that CCM was dying. But with this huge number of candidates, let them know that CCM shall not die but rather they are the ones who will die," he said.
The CCM Secretary General, Mr Wilson Mkama, said that out of 39 CC members, 34 were present. Vetting of candidates at national level has taken a week now with various party organs being forced to add more days -- prompted by the big number of aspirants.
The Secretariat spent three days instead of one and the Ethics Committee, whose tasks ended yesterday morning, also spent three days instead of one. Some candidates have been reported by the media threatening to refuse any decision that would cancel their names from the race.
On Sunday, the CCM Secretary of Ideology and Publicity, Mr Nape Nnauye, warned such candidates. He advised them to remain calm and learn to handle pressure as their names go through various stages of vetting. "Candidates who use threats to influence decision-making at the ongoing party meetings show that they are weak and cannot weather the storm.
The current politics have changed and are full of pressure. Thus, all candidates should learn to handle pressure," he said.
Mr Nape assured all aspirants that justice would be done and that no one would be victimized. He added that the threats made by some candidates will not influence decision making.
Meanwhile, as the vetting exercise continues pressure seems to rise as inside stories have revealed that many big names have been axed creating the possibility of having many new faces in the party's leadership. Impeccable sources told the 'Daily News' evening just hours after the Central Committee meeting began that most of those axed are also Members of Parliament.
"There are some members of the parliament who have been endorsed but many have been cancelled and they are mostly big names," said the source who preferred anonymity.
The revelation shows that the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting expected to start on Tuesday will be tough as many big names had threatened to refuse any vetting that would put them out of the race.