Uganda’s political parties need to borrow a leaf from the rigorous process undertaken by Tanzania’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to scrutinise and pick its leaders.
At the weekend, Works minister John Pombe Magufuli was elected CCM candidate for the October 25 presidential election, a race that attracted 40 applicants, including former prime minister Edward Lowassa, vice president Mohamed Bilal, current prime minister Mizengo Pinda and foreign minister Bernard Membe.
Incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete did not anoint a successor, leaving CCM’s 2,100 members to elect the candidate of their choice.
As a party that has been in power for the past four decades, CCM has its share of challenges, including powerful men and women in its ranks being subject to accusations of corruption. Yet the same people may still want to climb to the top of the party, something that could expose the country to bad leaders.
Fortunately, CCM has in place some mechanisms to ensure participation of all key organs in the party from the grassroots to the top party organs.
The party was, therefore, charged with choosing between the party, or decorating its big men.
Since its inception, CCM has been known for its meticulous adherence to laid out constitutional procedures and formalities. Its members believe in what is known as Chama kushika hatamu (the supremacy of the party).
The processes are followed to the letter from the Ten Cell Units (Nyumba Kumi Kumi) – the lowest party structure – up to the National Congress (Mkutano Mkuu), which was and still remains the highest organ of CCM.
The party members who wanted to vie for any position go through a rigorous and comprehensive process to ensure a person, once elected, is worthy the position he/she aspired to. This is the only way modest people like Magufuli could rise to be presidential candidate.
This is what makes CCM tick that Ugandan political parties should embrace. CCM has not dominated Tanzania and outlived its founder Julius Nyerere by mere luck.
It is this coherence, diligence, and discipline within the ruling party that makes Tanzania one of Africa’s most politically stable nations.
A powerful and democratic CCM party has enabled Tanzania to have a smooth transition from Julius Nyerere, Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa to Jakaya Kikwete and now Magufuli.
Uganda’s NRM, FDC, DP, UPC, Jeema, CP and other political parties, therefore, should emulate some CCM best practices for the good of democracy in our country.
The issue: Party democracy
Our view: Uganda’s NRM, FDC, DP, UPC, Jeema, CP and other political parties, therefore, should emulate some CCM best practices for the good of democracy in our country.