Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

17 November 2012

Tanzania: CCM Still Dominant Force South of Sahara

THE eighth historic Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Congress held in Dodoma this week has indeed portrayed CCM as one of the well organised political parties South of Sahara.

Like other surviving liberation movements, SWAPO of Namibia, South Africa's ANC, Angola's MPLA, Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF and Mozambique's FRELIMO have framed themselves as cathedrals of morality and developed a self-righteous life of their own - to remain in power.

It was in this spirit when these parties met last year in August in Windhoek, Namibia to discus on regional unity and stability as consequence, framed goals that can only be assured by the continued stay in power of former liberation movements.

The short end to this is that these movements seem to be the sole guarantors of peace and stability in their respective countries, a belief held by all these parties. This is much to the chagrin of imperialistic forces that would wish to see the regime change to these countries yet it is far from happening, just like that wishful thinking of a hyena waiting for the arm of a human being to fall down.

The survival of these parties is based on the strong grassroots support they enjoy from their people. Angola's MPLA has fought for years the civil war engineered by UNITA's Savimbi and went on eventually winning.

FRELIMO's Renamo war by Alfonso Dlakama was so disastrous yet the gallant Mozambican people fought them away. The recent ANC split in the Polukweni Congress saw defection of some strong cadres of ANC yet the Party remained stronger.

Namibia's SWAPO had nasty period when prominent politicians, the likes of Hidipo Hamutenya, then right hand man of Sam Nujoma, defected from SWAPO on the fight for the Presidency of Namibia after the retirement of Nujoma.

Likewise CCM is seemingly faced with divisive problem yet banking on its strong support that has been exhibited in the just ended Congress. The CCM Congress whose opening remarks by its National Chairman Jakaya Kikwete set the tone and he used the occasion to reassure his members that the Party remains strong despite a few differences amongst its officials.

He warned the divisive groups within the party to desist from their actions lest the party would lose its grip. For young democracies like ours, it is not possible to avoid these divisions and it is as well not possible to break them after the elections.

We have a saying; "the end of elections means the starting preparatory stages of the next election." We cannot compare ourselves with the strong democracies like the USA who have firm democratic institutions.

Our democracy is shrouded with politics of the belly, no wonder it is not possible to stamp out bribes and corruption in our electoral processes. The evolution of African political path is very interesting and actually being nursed by western powers.

It is now almost half a century, yet we do not see our way forward, apart from pursuing the global experimental methods of running our countries with imported democracies that seem to tear us apart.

The first decade in the sixties was primarily a decade of honeymoon after attaining independence with lofty statements embracing nationalism and reconstruction of our countries. The emergence of neo-colonialism embodied in the political divide of the cold war put asunder the probable one bargaining voice of Africa.

The intensification of liberation wars were back to back with imperialistic manoeuvres of singling out those radical African leaders and toppled them to replace with their surrogates. That was the longest period of post independence's Africa sufferings, ranging from late sixties to late eighties when the liberation wars were conclusively being won.

A renowned Professor Richard Sklar, a Political Scientist lecturing on post-imperial and developmental democracy, made an optimistic prediction of the years post Cold War would make Africa become "a workshop of democracy."

Yes, this is what has been happening since 1989, people have been talking on democratic transition in Africa dubbed the third wave. It followed that the good part of the nineties marked the departure from one party and authoritarian rule to a democratic dispensation prompting for the advent of multiparty elections, respect for human rights and transparency in the conduct of governmental affairs.

In a way, this has been achieved in the perception of the World Bank who coined the term good governance in order to mesmerize the African countries which would ultimately be the beneficiaries of the World Bank funding with its conditionalities.

The governance talk appears to have failed to address the question of power, democratic participation and active citizenship resulting too many countries voter's apathy. Is Africa's perceived democratic workshop working or is it something else?

Some are saying it is becoming a workshop of democracy and deception since some of the despots and authoritarian rulers in Africa are learning the new language of democracy without necessarily prescribing to' its fundamental tenets.

I salute those ruling parties emanating from liberation movements including CCM which have endured the imperialistic manoeuvres and still going on strong. They have weathered the storm. Imperialistic next dirty trick as currently seen is fermenting chaos in the name of multi-party democracy.

This is happening in most of the African elections which are no longer leading into sustained democratic societies with peaceful electoral outcomes as normal democratic systems ought to do, but lead to court cases, elections boycotts or outright civil wars.

As a caution to dominant political parties like CCM, they should not become complacent, unresponsive and harbour attitude of don't care about developing their societies because they know too well that bewildered herd would still vote them into power en masse come next elections.

That era is gone; they should deliver in the same spirit as exhibited at the Dodoma Congress. The Congress had rekindled hope and high expectations for the October 2015. The outgoing Party Vice-Chairman Karume reminded the participants of the forthcoming General Elections.

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