Dodoma — ELDERS' Council of the ruling CCM in Dodoma District has issued a statement saying that any move to separate powers at the party's top leadership was unwelcome as it would weaken the party.
The Council's Secretary, Mr Mohamed Makbel, said that elders in the district met and discussed the spreading rumours that some members of the ruling party were campaigning for separation of powers between the party and the government's top leadership and found it unhealthy for the party.
Addressing the press here on Saturday, Mr Makbel said that separating the two caps at a time as Chairperson and President was not appropriate and pleaded to members of the National Congress not to make any mistake to separate them."A motion to separate these titles was discussed in 1980, recommended that the current system must prevail for the betterment of the party," he said.
Mr Makbel explained that the national party chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete, has done a commendable job with regard to the well-being of the party and the national development in general."The motive behind the strange push to have the president's national duties separated is uncalled for. It has come to our attention that there is hidden agenda to weaken the party and the government at large," Makbel said.
A veteran politician and retired diplomat, Ambassador Job Lusinde, made a strong appeal to all delegates to the party's National Congress to vote for President Kikwete to enable him assume the office of the CCM national chairperson for effective implementation of both government and party duties.
He added that the Council's chairperson, who was in the cabinet during the leadership of the late Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, said that those calling for separation of powers between the government and the party had no strong points to back their move.He noted it was high time CCM members looked at positive things that the fourth phase government has achieved such as opening up the country by construction of roads network and stop focusing on trivial issues.
Mr Jerry Silaa who is the member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) through the party's youth wing (UVCCM) said that many youths were dismayed by the rumours that there was a move to push for separation of powers between the party and the government leadership.
He said that such campaigns were being carried out by unconfident members and that it was unrealistic to do so.
Mr Silaa who is also the Mayor for Ilala Municipality in Dar es Salaam showered praise on President Kikwete's leadership, saying that he and other members of the youth wing of the party were getting prepared to give him all their votes.The reaction followed rumours that went around on Friday by a member of CCM National Congress, Mr Agustino Matefu, that he had discovered some printed leaflets aimed to influence members of the congress not to re-elect President Kikwete as the party's chairman.
Mr Matefu pointed accusing finger at member of the party's youth wing, Mr Hussein Bashe and three others namely Beno Malisa, Martine Shigela and Fred Lowassa for the allegedly decampaigning against President Kikwete.Earlier on Saturday, Mr Bashe reaffirmed his loyalty to the party's national Chairperson, President Jakaya Kikwete, saying he was against any move pushing for separation of the presidency and the national party chairmanship.
Mr Bashe said this in a press conference here yesterday refuting accusations against him on Friday that he was behind a group of youths in the party distributing leaflets urging members of the national party congress to push for separation of powers by electing another chairperson to replace President Kikwete.
"I supported President Kikwete in 2005 and I have such trust and faith in him and I will continue to support his leadership as the chairman of my party," he said.Mr Bashe said he wrote a letter to CCM Secretary General, Mr Wilson Mkama (Sunday News has a copy) asking him to take measures against some members of the party who were tarnishing his (Bashe) image and the image of others.
"I have all along been saying that there is a senior government officer who is behind campaigns intended to malign me and several other youths and this is none other than the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe," he charged.Mr Bashe further charged that Mr Membe was being assisted by the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, among others, in such campaigns.
Mr Nyalandu has distanced himself from the accusations against him, saying he was not contesting any post and was therefore not involved in any campaigns that are going on here."I am in Kilimanjaro Region right now and I have not even seen the leaflets. I would not like to be dragged into such confrontations," said Mr Nyalandu who is the member of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC).
Efforts to reach Mr Membe for comments proved futile as his mobile phones were not reachable . In another development, CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, Mr Nape Nnauye said that the party was investigating the allegations and that it would take appropriate measures in due course. "We cannot underestimate these allegations, we are probing them and we will take appropriate measures," he said.
The party's 8th National Congress with objectives of electing the ruling party's top leaders to serve for the next five years kicked off here on Saturday.The party's Central Committee (CC) convened here on Saturday, late evening, under the leadership of President Jakaya Kikwete to receive report on preparations for series of meetings which will involve nomination of the national party leader, the deputies (Mainland and Zanzibar) among other candidates for different positions, before voting.
The Party's Ideology and Publicity Secretary said that the Congress will be held for three days under the theme, "Peace, Unity and Development."
More than 2,000 delegates are expected to attend the congress in addition to about 700 invited guests. Inside the conference room there will be more than 3,000 people and more than 4,000 people will be following the session from outside the building.