Chongolo’s exit from CCM hot seat sparks speculation

Delegates attend CCM’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at State House in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.  PHOTO | CCM

What you need to know:

  • Some political commentators link his surprise resignation as secretary-general with the 2025 elections.

Dar es Salaam. The surprise resignation of CCM secretary-general Daniel Chongolo has set tongues wagging, with some political commentators linking his exit with the 2025 General Election.

They also outlined attributes the new secretary-general should possess for the ruling party to prevail in next year’s local government elections and the next General Election.

These include courage, neutrality, quest for unity and putting the party’s interests first.

Their comment’s followed the acceptance by the CCM national chairperson, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, of Mr Chongolo’s resignation letter dated November November 27, 2023.

Mr Chongolo attributed his decision to what he said was a social media campaign to undermine and discredit him.

He added that, as a senior party leader, he had to make a decision that was in the best interests of the party following serious allegations that had been levelled against him.

Briefing journalists about decisions passed during Wednesday’s CCM National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in DAr es Salaam, ideology and publicity secretary Paul Makonda said Mr Chongolo’s resignation request has been accepted.

Yesterday, an independent political commentator, Mr Buberwa Kaiza, told The Citizen that Mr Chongolo was a victim of a power struggle within CCM.

He said Tanzanians had for a long time embraced the “myths” that Tanzania could not move forward in Mwalimu’s Nyerere’s absence, political pluralism would plunge the country into chaos and that CCM was indispensable.

“The time has come for Tanzanians to believe that this country can progress without CCM. The ongoing situation will have an adverse impact on CCM and significantly benefit the opposition on the other hand,” Mr Kaiza added.

A political science and public administration lecturer at the University of Dodoma (Udom), Dr Paul Loisulie, said CCM should put its house in order for the President to effectively execute her mandate as the country’s Head of State.

He added that the President essentially oversees the execution of the ruling party’s election manifesto.

“It seems President Samia Suluhu Hassan lacks appropriate lieutenants in the party to help her attain her goals and meet Tanzanians’ expectations as promised in CCM’s 2020/25 election manifesto. That is why three secretaries of ideology and publicity have served within a relatively short period,” Dr Loisulie said.

On the existence of factions within CCM, he echoed Mr Kaiza’s views, saying what was happening had everything to do with the 2025 General Election.

He said Mr Chongolo had either resigned of his own volition to protect his political status, or had been forced out.

For his part, Dr Colnelius Simba from the University of Iringa (UoI) said like any other CCM member, Mr Chongolo had the right to serve as a party leader or remain an ordinary member.

“However, the decision can destabilise CCM because the timing is wrong, with the resignation coming as the party is preparing for next year’s local government elections and the 2025 General Election,” he said.

Another political analyst, Mr Ramadhani Mayeko, said factions were nothing unusual in political parties and thatit was unlikely that this was the reason for Mr Chongolo’s resignation.

“In my opinion, there are other issues that triggered Chongolo’s resignation that have not been revealed,” he said.

Assistant political science and administration lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Conrad Masabo said party members had the right to accept appointment to hold leadership positions or resign whenever they deemed appropriate.

He added that reasons being put forward for Mr Chongolo’s resignation were “mere speculation” and it was only the former secretary-general himself who knew the truth.

Next CCM secretary-general

Dr Loisulie said CCM needs a secretary-general who would serve as a connector and influencer “beyond party walls and caucuses”.

“This means he or she should be accepted both inside and outside the party.”

Mr Kaiza said someone who is “very bold” should be picked to replace Mr Chongolo, adding that “soft” individuals would not help the ruling party overcome internal upheavals and perform well in the forthcoming elections.

For his part, Dr Simba said the new secretary-general should be a mature person, who was not affiliated to any faction, noting that being a unifying force within the party was an added advantage.