THE National Chairman of CCM, President John Magufuli, making his maiden move to reorganise his party, has named new officials who will man the secretariat. Basically, the top secretariat remains the same with the exception of a couple officials, including a new Publicity and Ideology Secretary.
But what everybody, who is oblivious of political parties is waiting to hear is whether this party, one of the oldest in Africa is destined for a rebirth of its erstwhile well known ideology and grass-root outreach.
For, in the intervening period, the party seems to have been operating like a football club, reviving for exercises only when a next match is imminent, and in this context, only when new elections are inevitable!
In a competitive multiparty rule as existing in this country today, it is most urgent for a political party especially the ruling party to have its eyes and ears on the ground, swimming with the people as fish does in the sea.
For those belonging to the old generation in this country, the old CCM chaired by founder President, Dr Julius Nyerere, was always most active with its central and executive committees making periodical reviews on the social-economic landscape existing in the country and coming up with “wake-up” calls for its rank and file and the people generally. During that time, we were able to see and read party documents titled “party guidelines” on the social-economic and political direction of the country.
Were one to imagine the old good days with what is happening today, already the party should be waving a guideline document dubbed: ‘HAPA KAZI TU’ - promoting the vision of its new Party Chairman! We will come back to this point later.
The question one can ask today: is the ruling party, CCM, oblivious of the concrete situation on the ground today? Has it any ideology normally attributed to political parties anywhere? So what is the difference in terms of message and focus by the ruling party and the Opposition in place?
What is the focus of the ruling party in the context of the social-economic landscape of this country in terms of the widening gap between the few filthily rich and the staggering poor majority in this country?
Which party in the competitive political landscape has a focus on this very obvious phenomenon in the country today - the gap between the haves and havenots? Which party takes the plight of the poor of this country seriously as a permanent agenda?
Let us start with the ruling party, CCM. This party was founded on a firm ideology, namely Socialism and Self-reliance. It was also imbued with this motto from the word go: “the independence of this country is meaningless without the total liberation of Africa”.
It has, therefore, a rich history in its contribution to the liberation struggle in Africa against minority rule and apartheid. The free states in Southern Africa today must have the name of this party, CCM, in their roll call of honor. But Tanzanians also, especially those of the old generation, see in this party a country in safe hands.
But does this party, CCM, read correctly the concrete situation on the ground today? Even after its government was obliged to subscribe to International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) privatisation agenda four decades ago, has the party remained faithful to its actual owners, the peasants and workers of this country?
Those watching the political landscape in this country may have noted that the major political parties of this country, the ruling party and one from the opposition are ‘crowd pullers’ and the quantitative difference in the crowds they pull is arguable. But they must have also noted that the crowds that converge for one political party in the Opposition are mainly of youths mostly under 35 years old; the majority being the youngest. What is it that youths of this country are attracted to this party in the Opposition?
One may suspect it must be one of the opposition parties’ confrontational stance: such as ‘mpaka kieleweke’ (a warlike slogan to come to the root of a given matter!) This slogan looks attractive especially to young people seen in the crowds this party is able to pull. Has there been anything substantive on alternative social-economic programs?
The Opposition seems to have focused on “ufisadi” - alleged thievery by those in public office! And this about all! What amuses me is that whereas its leadership dons fatigues – the same attire Fidel Castro or Che Guevara would be comfortable in, this party in the Opposition has chosen to use helicopters to visit the people across the country!
But the people this party wants to impress can hardly afford owning bicycles, can they? I leave it to your fertile imagination to decode what ideology this party subscribes! But then what is the concrete situation on the ground in this country today? There is currently raging battles between peasants and herdsmen.
Most often than not, headlines abound of deaths being reported somewhere in the countryside. For the first time since independence, bows and arrows, which have not been taken seriously before, are now being deployed by our people in the rural areas – the consequence of free for all grab of land in the rural areas.
As I am writing, and if you are a parent, you must be wondering what to do with your sons and daughters who have completed schooling and even some training but are rotting at the house with no where to go or no hope at all to win jobs! You may agree this situation is the consequence of the privatisation agenda we swallowed hook, bait and sinker thrown to us by western powers via the IMF decades ago. Full-fledged capitalism is both inhumane and beastly – as we must have realized by now.
You cannot oblige private firms to employ people nor oblige them to handle workers in a humane way. You are hired by word of mouth and fired accordingly by word of mouth. This is capitalism! And we have massive unemployment in this country.
The method of tilling land has not changed either; it is still the hand hoe. And urban areas are full of young people, some of whom we see hawking this and that, making us wonder whether they are really able to eke a single decent meal a day.
In short we have become a nation of petty traders. At this point, this is the concrete situation on the ground in this country today.
What follows now is to offer some pieces of advice to CCM – the party, which most of us feel safe in its hands -- as we have survived reasonably well close to half a century on under its leadership. My well considered advice is: CCM should pursue its original agenda of concern for the majority poor of this country. This should be done consistently.
The party should strive to narrow the gap between the filthily rich of this country and the majority poor. Any party anywhere has an ideology. What is wrong with the original ideology of this party – UJAMAA – Socialism with self-reliance as its backbone?
Well, if Socialism (Ujamaa) is found tasteless to some people, why not proceed with ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ (It is only hard work here) - a subtle pursuance of the original agenda of this ruling party? Already, its Chairman has an agenda to industrialize this country.
This suits in well with his office agenda – Hapa Kazi Tu.
Fortunately, the Party Chairman of the hour has done well when he embarked and dealt with one stroke a reigning lootocracy which malaise was sung and danced about by the opposition. So the way forward for the ruling party now is to go back to its roots, revive the party’s ideology within the context of today’s Tanzania.
CCM organs should meet often to review the social-economic pace of the country, supported by its grassroots network across the country. It should not appear to come to life only when elections are around the corner!