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President Suluhu to replace Magufuli as CCM chairperson

WORLD
By Roselyne Obala | March 22nd 2021
Tanzania's new President Samia Suluhu Hassan is seen after taking oath of office following the death of her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania March 19, 2021. [Tanzania State House Press/Handout via REUTERS]

Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has commenced the process to replace the late President John Pombe Magufuli (JPM) as its chairperson.

This follows a special session convened by the party’s Central Committee held on Saturday at the CCM Lumumba Sub-headquarters office in Dar es Salaam.

This was also President Samia Suluhu’s first meeting since she assumed office as the Commander in Chief, a day after she delivered the devastating news of Magufuli’s death.

There were also reports that the meeting deliberated on the choice of the vice president to be nominated by Suluhu and names forwarded to the National Assembly for approval by 50 per cent of the 393 MPs.

Some of the names said to be considered include Tanzanian Ambassador to Brazil Emmanuel Nchimbi, a former MP and CCM stalwart. Others are January Makamba and Martin Shigela.

Suluhu is required by law to nominate a candidate in consultation with the party and forward it to Parliament for approval within 14 days. She assumed office as president on March 19 and therefore has until April 2 to fill the vacant position in the office of the VP.

Also, inline with the succession policy initiated by Mzee Julius Nyerere and founding Zanzibar President Abeid Amani Karume, Suluhu will have a difficult task balancing the mainland and Zanzibar.

While Magufuli was from the mainland, President Suluhu is from Zanzibar and therefore her pick for VP must be clearly thought out not to upset the founding fathers’ succession policy. But yesterday, CCM was quick to refute claims of any deliberations on the VP’s position, insisting the meeting was mainly on its involvement in the burial plans of Magufuli and his replacement as chairperson.

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“There is no agenda of discussing the names of the person to be elected as vice president,” read a statement by CCM.

CCM’s Ideology and Publicity Secretary Humphrey Pole Pole issued a communique on the agenda of the meeting.

“The main committee has instructed us as the Secretariat that starting today (Saturday) within the shortest time possible, we will be calling a special general meeting for the party with just one agenda, to present one name to members and we do not have another name as per our traditions and that is the name of President Suluhu as CCM party chairperson,” said Pole Pole.

The Standard has also reliably learnt that the general meeting will be convened after Magufuli’s burial at his Chato rural home in Geita, on Friday.“The meeting resolved that President Suluhu should continue with her predecessor’s agenda; kazi inaendelea chini dada Suluhu,” said Pole Pole.

Former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete, who are former CCM chairpersons, were also in attendance as Executive members. Viewed as a Kikwete ally, Suluhu must now cut her own niche as the case with Magufuli, who was not his favourite in 2015, but stood out.

According to a senior official in Magufuli’s government, the late president carefully chose his top leadership including the Cabinet and set in place new systems, making it easy for Suluhu to deal with.

“When Magufuli came to power, we compared him with Kikwete but he chose his own path. He carefully chose his Cabinet members - people who did not have many friends, boundaries or bidding for those within and outside government,” he said.  

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