The Return of CDE Paul Makonda: A Litmus Test for CCM, Should We Expect a Major Impact on the 2025 Election?

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Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has never fallen short of tricks to skillfully find ways to circumvent falling in the same pit as its peers, historical liberation parties, many of which are shut behind strong iron doors of history. Being the oldest liberation party still in the driving seat, it goes without saying that it has weathered many storms.

From Chama cha wakulima na wafanyakazi,  with hammer and hoe as its symbols to represent the interest of the lower class, then peasants and workers, people who were the reason for its establishment and existence to the wealthier oriented, influenced by the most influential members of the society who have made it migrate from the politics of struggle for the people to the battle of the influential and forces for the powerful. People make the means for these forces to achieve their objectives.

The picking of Paul Makonda as a new CCM ideology and publicity secretary and his leadership style immediately manifests the party’s true identity today, fighting for survival. The ongoing concern is an integral mission of the party regardless of whether it is doing so at the cost of the people who are supposed to be the reason for its existence.

Makonda fits well in this new approach. The main task of the party is to win elections and form a government as opposed to what was its fundamental basis during its formation. The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) core objective was to build and maintain a socialist state aiming towards economic self-sufficiency and to eradicate corruption and exploitation, with the significant means of production and exchange under the control of the peasants and workers. And throwing away colonialism was the second to this.

Why? Simple logic demands that any meaningful mission should not be the end in itself. There should be a purpose. Winning an election is critical, but what happens after winning is more important, making people decide which party suits their interests. If you have a part whose core mission is to win the election, this will have nothing to do with people’s interest; its vital mission will be to prepare for the next election immediately after every election.

This has brought the current ideological and publicity secretary to his position, playing the role of pain killer instead of cure. If you have malaria symptoms, aspirin will ease your discomfort, but it will never treat malaria; the best it can do is to make it chronic. His leadership style, though applauded by a sect of party members who, in their opinion, he has what it takes to take CCM into Tanzanian hearts again the way the Late President John Magufuli did.

Also read John Pombe Magufuli: An Inquisition of His Legacy Over More Than 10 Years in Power.

They are fond of his leadership style, which he has identified with since he was the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, of publicly shaming and humiliating public officials, even though not necessarily solving the root cause of that particular problem.

Helping five or even ten wananchi in a rally of thousands of attendees (if the problems are solved in the real sense) and leaving hundreds with their troubles is not a sustainable means of solving people’s difficulties. Its actual name is brainwashing.

With the government network extending from street and sub-village levels through wards, divisions, districts and regions to the national level, it doesn’t make sense that people’s problems that are related to leadership and governance have to wait for a confident leader to pay a visit and let hundreds of people offload their grievances in 20 – 30 minutes and call this leadership.

Land, injustice, bullying, health, education, poverty and abuse of power, as raised by the distressed wananchi in public meetings, are not but manifestations of the failure of the very government formed by the same party which aspires to be commended for resolving people difficulties which in actual sense are its creation. How can you solve the problem of double allocation of land, which has been unsolved for more than ten years and has been through a bureaucratic process for many years, by speaking in a gathering and calling this leadership?

Back to CCM survival manoeuvres, picking the new publicity secretary and the introductory working style, will it work for or against it? The kujivua gamba and mawaziri mizigo propaganda made the party endure challenging times. Makonda’s leadership style is a litmus test.

His lake zone tour has shown his strength in convincing the lower class (wanyonge) that he can solve their problems. How long will this trust stick? It depends on the time to turn the hopes into reality. Will he manage to turn the hopes into reality? Time has the best answer.

But before time starts counting, will his style guarantee him full support from within the party? Imposing authoritative orders to the Prime Minister publicly in a demeaning-like manner, commanding ministers, regional commissioners and other senior government leaders, showing his superiority in the party’s name, will it sit well with other CCM vigogo?

We can all agree that to be appreciated is every person’s strongest desire, let alone high-ranking leaders; any efforts to make others visibly inferior or irresponsible make them against you, even if the person in question is your child. This publicly shaming style creates more internal divisions and ultimately makes the party lose power to determine its future.

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