Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Friday, 6 April 2012

Godbless Lema's loss of his parliamentary seat is bad news for the ruling party

The news from the Arumeru East constituency, in my view, is not the loss suffered in the poll on 1st April by Siyoi Sumari, the candidate of Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM); it is the reported celebrations that followed the win - not by members of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), whose candidate Joshua Nassari has won the elections - but by some members of CCM, whose candidate lost the elections.

They were celebrating Sumari's loss, not Nassari's win.

For some time, I have heard of in-house rivalries within CCM between opposing candidates seeking their party's nomination in election campaigns. These rivalries are created during nomination campaigns and gain strength and momentum with the nomination and continue throughout the election campaign by the losing sides against their party's candidate.

A political party that has permament in-bred opponents clearly does not need political foes from other parties. It should also be a matter of grave concern for any Tanzanian who prefers politcal stability to chaos.

It appears likely that the custom that encourages those party members whose choice for candidate has lost the nomination to actively undermine the party's eventual choice is well-entrenched within CCM.

This has only become possible because of weak leadership at all levels of the party. Rather than address its inability to resolve within the party's structures the antagonisms that are preventing CCM from becoming a unitary structure with the capacity to take on the opposition, the CCM leadership has allowed these divisions to manifest and entrench themselves in election campaigns.

Now, to make matters worse, yesterday's court ruling that has stripped CHADEMA's Godbless Lema of his Arusha Urban parliamentary seat presents yet another occasion for CCM's members to excel, once again, at showing how good they are at undermining their own electoral campaigns. Within CCM, the same political factions that were at odds with each other in Arumeru will also be present in the Arusha Urban by-elections.

There is every likelihood that Godbless Lema will re-emerge the eventual winner in the Arusha Urban by-election. With another win, Tanzanian voters will begin to associate CCM with losing and CHADEMA with winning, a prospect that should be extremely disturbing for its leadership and threatens CCM's pivotal position at the helm of Tanzanian politics for the past fifty years.

If I was a staunch supporter of CCM, I would have wished that Judge Gabriel Rwakibalira would have ruled in Lema's favour. It would have been one less headache that CCM and its leadership would have to deal with.

The best option for CCM is to opt out of the Arusha Urban by-election and take time off to re-engineer itself.

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