The CCM bigwigs battle over pre-election campaigns raged on yesterday as the party’s boss in Shinyanga Region. Mr Khamis Mgeja, took on fellow members John Malecela and Paul Makonda for accusing former premier Edward Lowassa of early campaigns for the 2015 General Election.
The duo argued that Mr Lowassa’s campaign would divide the ruling party and Mr Malecela has accused Mr Lowassa of seeking the presidency “at all cost”.
But Mr Mgeja told journalists at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that, given Mr Malecela’s rich experience as former prime minister and CCM vice-chairman, it was shocking that he should take sides in the infighting within the party. “We have many national problems–from narcotics, education, embezzlement, poaching to land conflicts–that Mzee Malecela can help solve instead of talking about personalities,” he said.
Mr Malecela himself does not have the moral authority to point fingers at others, Mr Mgeja added.
“This is not a person I wish to argue with, but we have to set the record straight. Mzee Malecela had his own issues with the party in his heyday and Mwalimu wrote a whole book about him.”
Mr Mgeja also told Mr Makonda to apologise to religious leaders for associating them with Mr Lowassa, adding: “We must not involve religious leaders in our wrangles because they are for every one of us as our guardians. That is why I was shocked when Mzee Malecela commended Mr Makonda for his bravery. Does that include tarnishing the clerics?”
Dar es Salaam Chief Sheikh Alhad Musa Salum was quoted recently saying it is not a sin for religious leaders to work with anyone for the good of the country and its citizens and they would keep on working with politicians and other people.
Since Mr Makonda was speaking in his capacity as head of mobilisation for CCM’s youth wing (UVCCM), Mr Mgeja said, the UVCCM chairperson should clarify whether his stand is also that of the wing.
In another development, a section of the same youth wing spoke out in Mbeya against the position taken by Mr Malecela and Mr Makonda. On Friday, CCM Vice-Chairperson (Mainland) Philip Mangula said that the heated debate among the party’s big shots is the result of going against ethos and regulations. “The war of words indicates some of our members choose to avoid the regulations,” he said, adding, “It is generally unacceptable and we should focus on building our party now that we are marking its 37th year.”