Makonda is back as RC, Ndalichako is Out! What’s Under the Rug?

CCM ideology and publicity secretary Paul Makonda rides a camel as he waves to Geita residents during his tour of the district on November 13, 2023. Mr Makonda was on Sunday March 31, 2024 appointed Arusha regional commissioner. PHOTO | FILE

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The mercurial Paul Makonda was, once upon a time, a Regional Commissioner (RC) of the prestigious Dar es Salaam region and was regarded as the perfect RC until he unsuccessfully gambled to gun down the Kigamboni Parliament seat, where he lost in the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) preliminary nominations and found himself jobless.

Many saw his political career running out of steam until divine intervention resurrected a deadbeat political career. After President Magufuli’s demise and being succeeded by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Makonda’s political fortunes soared. He was appointed as CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity.

Before he settled there, he reclaimed his old job as RC of a lesser region of Arusha in terms of prestige. Why is Makonda back in business, and Professor Joyce Ndalichako is out? Many would like to know what’s inside this appointment.

Most of the current reshuffles, which are difficult not to speculate, are being rammed down our throats because of the factors related to the forthcoming elections. Whether it is performance-related, identity politics, or simply running out of steam, every appointment is and will always be a political decision.

Before we interrogate why Makonda is back as an RC, we must examine the most recent appointments, glean why they were made, and determine whether they are relevant to our discussion. Of telling significance was the creation of a constitutional alien office called Deputy Prime Minister, and a beneficiary, Dr Dotto Biteko, hailed from the Lake region.

Read Related: Makonda’s Crusade Against Public Service Woes Faces Reality Check! Reforms Hits Roadblocks.

Before that appointment, the president had visited the Lake region, and a lukewarm reception from the residents there may have provoked the creation and appointment of the beneficiary solely based on ethnic identity politics. Before this appointment, I suspect identity politics played a part in this. After the demise of President Dr John Joseph Pombe Magufuli, the Sukuma tribe felt like an orphan.

Magufuli, who was not a Sukuma by birth, convinced them that he was one of their own, and the Sukumas did not disappoint and adopted him as their king. He became bona-fide Sukuma perse. So, his death was painful, and the perception of being forsaken was real, and he sought some sort of healing. Having that in mind, to massage their ego, the post of Deputy Prime Minister was hastily crafted, and a sukuma, Dr Dotto Biteko, was patted on the back.

How the Sukumaland has reacted to the creation of the docket of deputy prime minister and being rewarded one of their own is a matter of wait and see. This is because the last time CHADEMA was there traipsing in their perpetual demos, at the same time the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Biteko, was there; the game of numbers did not look impressive for the latter. It looks like CHADEMA is cake walking with Sukumaland’s vote if demo attendances are anything of guidance.

Sukumaland has many grievances that Dr. Biteko’s appointment may not necessarily address. For instance, during the late President Magufuli’s administration, the number of presidential appointees from the region quadrupled. Still, after his death, they saw their pointer in the region being shown the exit door or demoted. They felt marginalization knocking, and the door to prosperity that Magufuli had kept ajar was being slowly shut down.

No sooner President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in and presided over the burial of the deceased President Magufuli, the representatives of Chato requested a region that they believed was theirs for the taking save for the untimely death of their homeboy, president Magufuli. While discussions are still ongoing, the Sukumaland feels shortchanged. And, that on its own cannot be soothed by having one of their own in a junior position: The deputy prime minister is in no way near the president of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Infrastructural developments in Sukumaland took centre stage during the Magufuli administration. Still, it seems they have been forgotten, and that, too, cannot be appeased by having a deputy prime minister, Dr Biteko.

Don’t Miss Out: The Return of CDE Paul Makonda: A Litmus Test for CCM, Should We Expect a Major Impact on the 2025 Election?

Why do Makonda’s Political Odds Keep Plummeting?

Makonda’s political career is now an open book that few are ignorant about. Makonda’s strength is also his Achilles Heel. Makonda possesses a commanding personality that, in certain situations, works well for him, but in other circumstances, a forceful personality is a spoiler.

As the RC for Dar-es-Salaam left behind a mixed record of performance. On the one hand, he perspired to do something about the drug epidemic, but on the other hand, his overzealousness was accused of profiling and victimisation of those he had kept in his black book. We remember a socialite, Wema Sepetu, temporarily jumping to CHADEMA from CCM to express her concern after being searched and indicted for bhang possession. His efforts to clean the city did not yield much: picking dirty once a week without resolving organizational issues just scratched the surface.

When he turned down the advice of President Magufuli to stay away from running for the parliamentary seat, it was thought to be the last straw in his political career, but even losing the nomination did not dissuade him from staying awake to grab new political opportunities as they came his way.

As the CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, Makonda hit the ground running, mimicking President Magufuli’s “man of the people” posturing. Makonda attempted to usurp institutional governance and accused it of incompetence. Little did Makonda know as he was getting the people to turn to him to solve their problems, he was also undermining the power that be.

What was whispered in the corridors of the political uproar Makonda was unleashing was later shared with the public. Public complaints against Makonda’s approaches to problem-solving publicly abused senior ministers as if he were the president herself. The fine lines of separation between Makonda and President Samia became blurred, and some began asking themselves whether Makonda was executing presidential orders!

As the new brand Arusha RC, Makonda will find himself in the CHADEMA stronghold, and his political skills will be fully tested as they have never been tested before. Arusha residents will not accept him even if he solves some of their problems. And the municipalities will find his abrasive demeanour difficult to brook

At the heart of Makonda’s domineering personality is the reignition of CCM’s battered morale. In this area, he will spark vibrant adrenaline, but the effectiveness of swaying the electorate is a matter of waiting.

The good news for him is that neither the CCM’s member of parliament nor his predecessor is popular, so Arusha is in the undecided column. That should give him some reason to hope. But a failure to deliver Arusha in the forthcoming elections will lead to his sympathisers wondering aloud whether he was the right man for this job or if it was a case that had already been lost. That will be a debate for another day.

Dr Joyce Ndalichako never appeared comfortable in all ministerial posts given to her post-Magufuli Era. The only ministry she seemed to like was education, where she was all over the place. Maybe it was a case of manpower misallocation, but maybe she is not a person who excels outside her comfort zone.

Her dismissal must have ended the pain of clinging to a job she was never comfortable with. This political decision will not affect voting patterns in her backyard because she is not an imposing figure there.

The author is a Development Administration specialist in Tanzania with over 30 years of practical experience, and has been penning down a number of articles in local printing and digital newspapers for some time now.

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Benson Lule
Benson Lule
2 months ago

It sounds great

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