More defections in CCM as country asks:- Where is the Chief of Defence Forces?
Does anyone know where this guy is? He is the Chief of the Defence Forces, Gen Davis Adolf Mwamunyange, who has caused some stirs within the Tanzanian government machinery.
The answer to the question ‘who next?’ that has been lingering on for some time, was partly answered by yet another defection from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party while Tanzania is closely approaching the General Elections set to commence on 25th October 2015.
On Tuesday 13th October former Ambassador to France and the first Secretary General of the newly revived East African Community (EAC), Mr Juma Mwapachu defected from the CCM registering a list of shortcomings in this party that groomed him to prominence inside and outside Tanzania. The Mwapachu family is one amongst prominent ones to have ever acquired high level posts after positive contributions of their parents to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere during his struggle for independence. His elder brother Mr Bakari Mwapachu retired from active politics recently after having served in various capacities including ministerial posts. Mr Mwapachu deserted the CCM which is now struggling to regain its strength after the debacles that were caused by the infighting struggles for the presidency, in a unique style. He started by introducing this matter in the social media on the 12th October, and then drawing a national attention as to what was to follow the following day when he was returning his CCM card, following similar footsteps of the party stalwart Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru a few days earlier.
He said he was not going to join any party in the opposition camp until after the General Elections, this in away imitating Mzee Kingunge, and therefore implying that the current defections are stylish and well calculated. The similarities are that before the defections, both explained that they were in a strong support to Mr Edward Lowassa and that he was ill-treated during the CCM presidential preliminary polls. “For the past one month and a half you have been reading my articles on my position in regard to the CCM preliminary polls where I spent some time in support of Edward Lowassa. As I said earlier, my position is still the same, that Lowassa was my choice and I am convinced that he was the best choice,” reads his article in his Facebook account, which was later replicated in all mainstream media, both electronic and print. He went on and criticized outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete who dubs as the party chairman for having turned the party into an unrespectable institution, by turning it into an institution of in-fights and eliminating each other. He defended Lowassa as a ‘clean’ person that was subjected to the politics of victimization, not for the interest of the party and a nation as a whole, but rather for personal interests.fter this development and given the short time left to the General Elections, the biggest possibility now is to wait for the 11thhour defectors. The two ministers in the pipeline of predictions are Ms Sophia Simba, Minister of Community Development, Gender and Children. Another prominent figure in the list is Prof Mark Mwadosya, Minister without portfolio in the Cabinet of Tanzania. Both have openly voiced their concern that the party was not being run in a democratic tradition, but a one man show, and to further personal interests.
But while this is going on, there are other circumventing issues which have never happened in the pervious years. It has been claimed in the social media that the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), General Davis Mwamunyange, was poisoned and he has gone abroad for treatment, some even speculating that he had passed away. These rumours have left one Benedict Ngonyani facing legal charges, but the general fear is, even if this story is a hoax, where is the CDF? What is he doing? Thus a failure to give answers to these pertinent questions have created a room for more speculations as to who really is in charge of affairs in the army as President Kikwete is reaching the end of his tenure. Already his brother, the former Spokesman of the Police Force, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Aden Mwamunyange, who is now in retirement, has denied this information as ‘mere fabrication’ in his quick rebuttal.
Unfortunately for the CCM camp is the lack of psychological preparedness and ‘shock absorbers’ in the case of wanton defections. This has been reflected in the tendency of hurling nasty insults to whoever defects from their camp. For instance, former President Benjamin Mkapa insulted them in a recent political rally by saying any man who thinks they can get change through the opposition, should first carry pregnancies. This was an insult that was shared in almost all the social media and a few in the audio and print being an addition to his insults a few days earlier by calling defectors ‘stupid’ and ‘loafers’.The UKAWA alliance suffered a severe blow when one of its co-chairman Dr Emmanuel Makaidi passed away in midday on Thursday last week. He was the chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), one of the four parties forming this alliance, others being the National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR), Civic United Front (CUF) and the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA). Dr Makaidi, a US-trained political scientist, lost his job in 1985 as Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Labour and Social Welfare Ministry after he published a book that was critical of Julius Nyerere’s rule. He had published a total of 10 books all centered on Tanzanian politics. He was later employed in private firms until 1992 when Tanzania re-introduced the multiparty system that had been officially banned in 1965, four years after its independence from Britain in 1961 (as a UN Mandate Trustee). The late Makaidi became a full time politician and had been chairman of the NLD since 1992 up to the time of his death.
But while this was going on, the National Election Commission (NEC) reported to the media on Tuesday last week October 13, that it had axed one million voters from register. This is after it disqualified 1,031,266 registered voters from the Voters’ Register, citing multiple registrations in the Biometric Voters Registration (BVR). While Tanzanians are eagerly waiting for the voting day in less than 10 days to come, the NEC has come up with new number of potential voters being 22.7 rather than 23.7 which it had reported earlier. They claimed that after the voters’ verification process it had come to be noticed that 1,031,266 voters who were registered during the BVR had complications of multiple registrations. Amongst the deregistered are 181, 452 people who had registered up to eight times by a person, therefore forcing the NEC to call political parties to convince their members to vote for them rather than use treacherous methods.
The NEC bosses, Judge (rtd) Damian Lubuva and the Director of Elections Mr Kailima Kombwey counseled the party bosses to stop abusing the political platforms for mudslinging campaigns and attacking the Commission, rather than using them for convincing voters through articulating policies. A hot debate ensued mainly on two issues; one was on making the voters’ data base available for all political parties and allowing voters to guard their votes. The meeting became hot after representatives from the opposition John Mnyika and the legal counsels for the UKAWA, Mohamed Tibanyendera and Prof Abdallah Saffari raised serious concerns with the performance of the NEC. The meeting to discuss the political situation as the nation is approaching the Election Day; new issues are resurfacing due to suspicions from the opposition that CCM might manipulate the election in their favour. The meeting for logistical agreements seemed to flare tempers than calm down the situation.Calling for the trust from the opposition parties who were main speakers in the event, Mr Kombwey said that his organisation should be left alone so as it can conduct its affairs without frequent interruptions and uncalled for condemnations. NEC bosses argued that after a careful analysis of the BVR they realized that there were over a million voters who do not qualify which means they have to take great precaution in every step that they are taking. He elaborated further that the weaknesses that were derived from the registration centres needed a rigorous scrutiny rather than taking things for granted. “We were obliged to take the necessary precautions and this was for the health of the election itself rather than hidden motives as it has been speculated. The call for this meeting was preceded by harsh exchange of words between the opposition parties and the NEC office, to the extent that its chairman threatened to resign if he was not trusted.
The CHADEMA’s Deputy Secretary Mr Mnyika had gone to the extent of issuing an ultimatum to the NEC that it should give access to the database to the parties, an appeal that was rejected in the first palace but accepted later on. But the same mistrust to the government’s intention with the NEC was issued a week ago by the Acting Chairperson of the Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation (TACCEO), Imelda Urio. Speaking to the media recently, she condemned overnight covert campaigns and breach of election rules. She also queried motives by President Kikwete’s government after an abrupt replacement of seven senior officials from the NEC just three months before voting day. But while this is going on, already opposition parties have aired their dissatisfaction after receiving the voter’s registration book on the ground that it has been tempered with deliberately. “We have observed certain queries, we called for forensic audit which could have helped in verifying the sum total of the votes, but we were denied. This is a big loss after we allowed the NEC to conduct everything without monitoring,” lamented Prof Saffari, the Chadema Vice Chairman.
Further he has threatened to take this matter to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) if the CCM dares rig this election. He complained that President Kikwete has issued threatening statements during the conclusion of the National Freedom Torch Race in Dodoma on Wednesday last week. Adding angers to the opposition is the fact that the CCM candidate Dr John Magufuli signed a contract for the construction of flyovers on Thursday last week while at the same time running campaigns as presidential candidate. This has been interpreted as an attempt to weaken UKAWA’s campaign after they have mentioned several times the notorious traffic jam problem in Dar es Salaam and other major cities. Generally the election multitude is tense as the country approaches voting day.