When Mwita Waitara, former Ukonga MP (CHADEMA), broke ranks with his party, it took time for many to believe what he alleged. Waitara said that his quandaries started when he showed an interest in running for party’s chairmanship.
According to Waitara (Mwananchi, August 1, 2018), Mbowe allegedly doesn’t allow anybody to question anything. This means there is no democracy. And without exercising democracy within itself, apart from defeating its name namely the party of democracy and development, there’s no way such a party can bring the same to the country. He added “my conflict with Mbowe, at this time we approaching elections… I said that he has led the party for 20 years, the age of an adult person... The party is called the party of democracy and development. There is no election. And what is there is just kupachika pachika” (embedding).
Apart from alleging that his defection resulted from being targeted simply because he wanted run for the chairmanship of the party, Waitara said that there’s no accountability especially when it comes to how the money the party gets monthly by as subsidies is spent. Further, Waitara said that it has been CHADEMA’s limbo whenever it approaches internal elections. He cited examples of other members, who either were expelled or ditched the party simply because they’re seen as the threats to the chairman. Professor Mwesiga Baregu, one of CHADEMA brains, concurs with the assertion of the party being a private estate. The Mwananchi (May 30, 2018) quotes him as saying that “these complaints are just emotions, I think we must let the party owners what they want so that we can follow because there we can’t change anything.” Further, former Deputy Chair, Said Arfi concurs noting that “ either, he (Mbowe) was infuriated as to why I questioned why party founder Hon. Mtei, imposes leaders on us” (Mwananchi, November 22, 2013).
Since Edwin Mtei, found the CHADEMA 26 years ago, the party has known only two people at helms namely himself and his son-in-law Freeman Mbowe, current CHADEMA’s chair minus approximately six years the party was under Mtei’s consigliore and party co-founder Bob Makani.
In the same vein, since founding it, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has been under the chairmanship of John Cheyo since its inception 26 years ago, just like the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT) under Zitto Kabwe not to mention the National Convention for Construction and Reform–Mageuzi (NCCR-Mageuzi) that has, for many years been under James Mbatia plus the United People’s Democratic Party (UPDP) under Fahmi Nassoro Dovutwa not to forget the Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) that has been under Augustine Mrema since 1995 after snatching it from its founders and crucifying it by turning it into his private party.
The list of the parties their leaders use for their personal ends is long. The Civic Union Front (CUF) was under Professor Ibrahim Lipumba and Seif Sharif Hamad for many years on the helms wherein the duo has interminably been running for president in Mainland and Zanzibar respectively. However, after one wanted to pack off another, the party ended up splitting into two thanks to the duo’s wrangles. The same applies to the Democratic Party (DP) that saw its founder, Christopher Mtikila, at the helms up until his death. Similarly, the Union for Multiparty Democracy (UMD) was under Abdallah Fundikira since he found it in 1993 up until he crossed over to the CCM in 1999. Those are the notable political parties in Tanzania. There are many more unknown with the same selves of being personal parties. Such parties thrive on cronyism, denialism, favouritism and mystery which create the seeds of self-destruction.
What does the situation above say? It is simple. Many political parties, minus Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), are family or private chattels of their leaders if not moneymaking gears for them. Knowing this weakness, the CCM has never perturbed itself to remind them of putting their houses in order. It knows; such parties cannot unseat it. Methinks this is why CCM’s chair, President John Magufuli, claimed that the CCM will rule Tanzania forever. Although this assertion was taken out of context and misconstrued as the sign of dictatorship, the truth on the ground speaks volumes. The AFP (July 18, 2018) quoted Magufuli as saying that “the CCM is here and will continue to be here - forever. Members of the CCM, you can walk with your heads held high. There is no alternative to the CCM.” With such unaccountable and undemocratic parties revolving around nepotism and sole personalities, truly, there is no alternative. Like anybody, Magufuli knows how many political parties are private political parties as opposed to the CCM that’s a public political party.
In western countries where our democracy likes to ape, the leader of the party faces his or her definitive test during the general elections. Once the party loses elections, the chair, too, packs and hits the road.
Summing up all evidence adduced, we must agree; there’s a very big problem in the politics of our country with regard to accountability and democracy. For the CCM not to rule forever, the opposition parties need to be decolonised themselves in order to be owned by members but not their leaders. Democracy must emanate from within the parties but not otherwise. Failure to deconstruct themselves, many political parties in Tanzania will always remain onlookers when the CCM is entrenching itself in power.
Source: Citizen, Aug.,8, 2018.