Tanzania: CCM Endorses Sweeping Reforms
Ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) yesterday endorsed sweeping reforms, with its Chairman President John Magufuli vowing to fiercely fight the party's dependence and corrupt elements.
The major changes following the constitutional amendments include reduction of members of the party's top organs, reduction of party meeting frequencies and abolition of unconstitutional posts.
Before the changes, the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) had 388 members who have been trimmed to 163 while the Central Committee had its members reduced to 24 from the previous 34.
Other reforms include prohibition of multi-leadership posts within the party, introducing the one-person-one leadership post system. Before the reforms, CCM members were free to hold as many posts as they could, both within the party and government.
Addressing the party's national extraordinary congress, Dr Magufuli said the reforms aimed at checking massive spending and boost efficiency. He assured delegates that the reforms seek to empower the party, economically, adding that CCM is looking forward to strengthen its economic resources and ensure it uses own money in all activities.
"This is a big party, we have 8.5 million members, we have resources and many sources of income, there is no need for us to continue begging," the party national Chairman charged, adding that the reforms mark the end of the begging era.
"Sometimes we seek money from people who should not be giving us that kind of support. I say, from today that practice is over, whoever wish to support CCM must do it at his/her own will," said President Magufuli.
"We have started with this meeting. No need to beg ... enough is enough. Those who want to financially support the party are welcome but they shouldn't expect us to go begging," he said, arguing that dependence on financiers compelled the party to consider rewarding them through making decisions that fit their (funders') interests.
He said the reforms envisage taking the party from a group of few leaders to majority Tanzanians, with leaders compelled to listen and serve the public. "For a long time, competent, strong and committed leaders have been dropped from contesting because some politicians were using money," fumed the Chairman, vowing never to entertain such dirties.
President Magufuli said CCM needs leaders with strong leadership skills and commitment to serving the public, explaining that the party no longer needed leaders who use money to win elections and ultimately failing to deliver.
The party is scheduled to start elections for various posts in December, this year. Dr Magufuli described the changes as inevitable for the party to cope with current environment and state of politics.
The changes further seek to strengthen the party and ensure efficiency and hardworking among party members, President Magufuli told the extraordinary general congress that was attended by 2,356 out of the total 2,380 delegates.
The reforms also provide for the party wings to amend their constitutions to align with the party's constitution. CCM official meetings have also been reduced, effective yesterday NEC required to meet twice per year against the three times arrangement under the previous arrangement.
CCM Secretary General Abdulrahman Kinana said the constitutional reforms were normal but critical to the party. "We are doing this exercise this year for the 16th time, CCM has been amending its constitution since 1977, and this is because things are changing, our decisions consider the state of politics in the country and the changes of time," he said.
Mr Kinana said in 1977 the party had 40 members of CC, the number was later reduced to 14 before it was increased to 34. "Today, the party wants the number to drop to 24 members, we have been doing this not because of someone, it is because we are changing with time and needs." He said CCM is in the same league with the African National Congress (ANC) and the Communist Party of China (CPC).
He said the 93-year old CPC with 88.7 million members, has 6,000 members of general congress, 205 members of NEC and only 25 members of CC. Mr Kinana further charged that ANC, the oldest political party in the world with 105 years old, has 1.3 million members, 3,200 members of the general congress, 114 members of NEC and 26 members of CC.
Meanwhile, two former MPs from the opposition and one Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) cadres were introduced before the delegates of the extraordinary general congress.
They include former Kasulu Urban MP (NCCR-Mageuzi) Moses Machali, Mpanda Town MP (Chadema) Said Amour Arfi and former Chadema candidate for Kigoma North constituency, Dr Yared Fubusa.
By Florence Mugarula and Sylivester Domasa in Dodoma