A PROMINENT cadre of the opposition Chadema Party, Muslim Hassanali, has officially decamped to the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). The latest 'defector' was also a member of the party's board of trustees, and his decision is seen as a part of a 'wave' of 'prodigal' politicians reuniting with their 'parent' CCM.
Though political observers say the move opens a new chapter in the country's political history, they're quick to add that the defections were weakening the opposition camp - at same time. Other opposition 'bigwigs' who recently relinquished their party membership to rejoin CCM include former Kinondoni MP Maulid Mtulia (CUF), Siha MP, Dr Godwin Mollel and former CHADEMA youth wing Chairman Petrobras Katambi, among others.
Mr Hassanali who was also a member of Chadema's Central Committee (CC) quitted the party for CCM at a meeting held at the Pugu based Checkpoint hall in Dar es Salaam, where he was received by the party's Deputy Chairman (Mainland), Philip Mangula, among other top CCM leaders.
"... I have decided to relinquish my party (Chadema) membership and my position as a member of the board of trustees ... which I've served for 15 years ... and I want to assure you that this decision is mine ... I've not been bought by CCM, advised ... or (even) threatened by anyone," he told CCM members amid cheers.
Mr Hassanali who was among the main sponsors of the opposition party before decamping to the ruling party said that there was widespread notion that if any politician ditched the opposition for CCM, people believed that they had been bought.
He added that it was not easy to arrive at his decision, but that he had done so purely on 'national interest' after nearly ten years of contemplation - but owned up that he was 'enticed by the good record of leadership' on the part of President John Magufuli.
Mr Hassanali said he decided to join CCM not because he had been promised any government position, insisting that from yesterday, he would 'offer himself' the position of 'main advisor to Dr Magufuli' within his newfound party. In his remarks, Mr Mangula commended Mr Hassanali for his bold decision, adding that his party was implementing its manifesto as it pledged during the 2015 election campaigns.
He said in the last two years of his presidency, Dr Magufuli had implemented many pledges although there were still more other issues to be tackled as it was difficult to implement all the promises at once. "You have joined a party that is serious on bringing changes in the country at a speedy approach," said Mr Mangula when welcoming a new party member.