ONE bright sunny morning last week, Wednesday to be exact, Tanzanians woke up to an almost new line-up in the ruling CCM's leadership hierarchy in a grand finale to the three exciting days of its national congress held at the party's conference complex at Kizota on the outskirts of Dodoma.
In a way, some political analysts would be quick to point out that the changes were not all that 'new' since what the party did was to bring back some of the old guards it had rested to give way to 'fresh blood' to strengthen the party and add to its dynamism.
The party's comeback 'kids' this time were a longserving cadre, career soldier, politician, MP and cabinet minister, Mr Abdulrahman Kinana, who replaced another party cadre and career civil servant, Mr Wilson Mukama, as secretary-general and Mr Philip Mangula, former secretary- general who made a super comeback as vice-chairman (Mainland).
At the end of the day the line-up had Mr Kikwete as national chairman, Mr Mangula as vice-chairman (Mainland), Dr Ali Mohamed Shein as vice-chairman (Zanzibar), Mr Kinana (secretary-general), Mr Mwigulu Nchemba (deputy secretary-general - Mainland) and Mr Vuai Ali Vuai (deputy secretary-general - Zanzibar).
Long serving cabinet minister Zakia Meghji was returned as secretary of the Finance and Planning of the National Executive Committee (NEC) while former UN deputy secretary general and cabinet minister Dr Asha-Rose Migiro made a comeback as secretary of the External Relations Department.
The line-up constitutes of ladies and gentlemen of proven track record in party and government leadership machinery, combining youth and experience. There has been talk and a lot of comment regarding, especially, the appointment of Mr Kinana to replace Mr Mukama at the helm of the party's head office administrative structure, with prophets of doom seeing the latter's 'dropping' as a riddance.
It was not. In fact Mr Mukama did a commendable job to strengthen the party, especially after several 2010 parliamentary election 'loses', build up its image and institute several positive changes, including upgrading the leadership apparatus from the grassroots' level.
A veteran, experienced and no-nonsense leader, Mr Mukama boosted work discipline in the party, reshaped it image and course and built commendable foundations as Tanzanians head towards the 2015 general elections. In short, Mr Mukama contributed a lot to the party's transformation and recasting (kujivua gamba) process.
Mr Mukama, who retained his NEC position; and as senior CCM leader, will continue to be a fountain of experience in which other leaders will draw from in their party strengthening endeavour. Some analysts are of the opinion that for political party to 'tick', charisma among its leaders is of essence, something which they see as having influenced the appointment of Mr Kinana, a charismatic person, to the top party post in place of Mr Mukama.
Charisma and personal charm are vital ingredients in the election strategy of any political party. Analysts also see the elevation of Mr Kinana to the CCM's administration helm as a 'compromise appointment' in view of the changes the ruling party wants to embrace in its strengthening process given the party veteran's track record of outstanding service and unwavering loyalty to the party.
Mr Kinana was the CCM campaign manager during the 2010 elections and his effort culminated in a resounding victory for the party in both parliamentary and presidential elections; the same with local government polls. The new vice-chairman (Mainland), Mr Mangula, is a party cadre of many years who has proved evergreen and withstood the test of time.
The former secretary-general is also a renowned CCM ideology guru, having served as a tutor at the party's ideological college at Kivukoni. The veteran party cadre served as regional CCM secretary and regional commissioner in a number of regions, including Kagera and Mwanza and has been a NEC member.
There are some people who view Mr Mangula's 'restoration' as a sign of bankruptcy in the party's leadership scouting apparatus due the fact that the veteran leader was retired several years ago. This is a wrong and misguided notion since the party has the right to shuffle its teams in accordance with prevailing circumstances.
Isn't true that some football teams have reinstated some their players whom it had rested a number of years ago? Aren't they playing good football? In politics, the scenario could be the same. These haven't been spent forces. Now that their services are required, there is every good reason to call them back.
The re-appointment of Mrs Meghji and Dr Asha- Rose to their party secretariat posts underlines their impressive administrative records in their various national and international undertakings, which would prove useful in the party's repositioning and strengthening process.
There is also a sprinkle of youth in the hierarchy which analysts deem a wise choice in adding to the party's dynamism and popularity, especially among the youths. The appointment of a fast upcoming young leader, Mr Nchemba as deputy secretary general (Mainland) speaks louder than words on the party's commitment to reach out to the new generation, who are the new political force in the country.
There is also Mr Nape Nnauye as a CCM Secretary for Publicity and Ideology, a youthful and another upcoming leader who has shown qualities of a good leader and an asset in the party's future plans. All these changes augur well for CCM. They were not taken overnight. The party had probably done its home work prior to effecting them.