Of CCM economic supremacy and Jamaican squad

In the last 2010 General Election, political parties accused each other of illegal trained squad. The rationale given by the well established CCM was that, it is for security reasons during campaigns against the assumed “opponents”. The Green Guards for CCM party and the Red Guards for CHADEMA were household terms during elections.

CCM being the party in power since independence has a very good economic power built during one party state era and it is using the same now in the multiparty state era to claim support from citizens, wananchi!

It is either done by claiming to be the sole owner of so many public areas like football stadiums from CCM Kirumba to Mandela in Sumbawanga, and now its youth wing UV-CCM in the process of establishing a bank, is it for the nation, for the party fans and members?

We have three things to ask ourselves as a nation and as a country; who is a threat to our nationhood? Who is a threat to our unity? Who will save us if things become bad?

To speculate and have some probable answers lets understand the Jamaican squad garrisons of Kingston and streets like Trench Town and others.

The Jamaican squadgangs’ history starts in 1980s when two major political parties in Jamaica were competing for votes. The major problems by then were among others unemployment and poor living standard and poor housing especially in the main city of Kingston.

In the 1980, elections Jamaican Labour Party and People’s National Party were in fierce competition for votes. Each party armed squad by providing them with guns to fight opponent in order to win votes. JLP won under Edward Seaga after rising inflation and unemployment, the election was characterized by politically supported squad violence to secure votes. This was the turning point for the current Jamaican and in particular Kingston’s name as one of the most violent and bloody cities in the world.

Multiparty political era has witnessed in the recent years especially 2009 Busanda By Elections and the 2010 General Elections, political parties training some youth groups on the militia basics in the name of providing security to their party leaders in the public rallies and preventing opponents from intruding the rallies.

If I am asked, ‘what is the role of the Police Force and its rapid response battalions FFU?’ May be these political parties are preparing for the vote-turf wars. That would possibly  be my answer.

Back to Jamaica again, after the 1980 and 1983 elections these two parties started to raise big buildings to be rented by their supporters as a way of fulfilling their election pledges and easing life woes brought by inflation and high rate of unemployment.

We are told that those buildings constructed during one party era are sole properties of CCM, but they were built when everybody was doing so for the sake of the nation not party. So this monopoly of something built by all Tanzanians is to me, divisive politics and hypocrisy of some people in the CCM who want us to believe that since we have joined another ideological vehicle we are also not part of this country’s history and that CCM hold solution to people’s problems and is the best ideological vehicle! Where were you 30 or so years?

Of recent, the news are fed into our ears that UV-CCM want to establish a bank to help reduce unemployment in Tanzania and that youth will be emancipated through it? Where on earth are political parties owning banks and other financial investments and yet claim to bring unity? Only Tanzania where we are good at making historical headlines, but just in the book of goodies-some of which are not even beneficial or developmental to the nation not Guinness the Book of Records as we expect.

What we can see from the onset is preparing a loophole for plunder of resources or rather giving a different meaning to a political party. Therefore it is no surprise to the see ‘longest ruling political party’ in East and Central Africa having an excuse to interfere with the well established spirit of nationhood and unity we have built for the last 50 plus years in the name of vote competition and competitive politics!

Is it true that political party can create employment outside the state government? Is it also true that when elections are being held whether it is general or by-election are the security forces are excepted from their duty of safeguarding peace, do they decrease in number? Lastly, is it true that these political parties forming their security teams, is that also provided for by our laws or in their articles or registration is that one their characters?

Amazingly these gangs being developed are brainwashed that they are protecting the ‘nation’s’ interest of which is the vice versa. If that is true, is the nation’s interest being held and protected by unemployed young and illegal gangsters?

Tanzania as a nation is heading where nobody will be safe, political parties are busy ‘paving the way’ towards unknown destiny.

The likes of Kenya’s Mungiki started as friendly squads with the hidden agenda as a religious group preserving the Kikuyu’s culture; after the December 2007 disputed general elections they were armed by some big men to kill other tribes living in areas assumed to be of the Kikuyu homeland, garrisons.

All those that we see today did not start overnight they were things and activities people see, some ignore and others benefit from them, either gaining more political foothold, and social capital and others using them to fight and intimidate other fractions of the society which do not support their activities.

The CCM Green guards started in the last years (2010) elections, before they were called chipukizi- party suckers, they were the recruiting ground for new and young members to the party, and it was indoctrination stage for the party. It was meant for only ideological training for CCM tender age members. The adults were taken to Kivukoni College of Social Studies in Kigamboni the now Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy. The green guards are being given martial training not ideological! Other parties have also fall victims to the acts of CCM by focusing on martial training rather than ideological.

The countries we have seen plunged into violence and civil wars did not start just because people were angry with government but also because the ruling parties supported some gangs in the name of chipukizi, and sometimes funding them to loot, plunder and kill political opponents. They were also used to cause commotions in the public rallies called by opponents so much so that the government under ruling party’s influence can label other political parties chaotic, violent and enemy to the country’s stability and harmony.

These groups when they are well acquainted with security duties and state supported clandestine activities against innocent citizens and the number grow larger they turn against the government as rebel groups and illegal gangs.

Competition for votes is now being turned to be economic playground whereby CCM youth wing, UV-CCM has entered the league of financial institutions by wanting to establish its own bank, will this save the nation from disintegrating or instigating it more? Will it really emancipate youth and reduce unemployment?

Let us take a look at Tanzania Women’s Bank established in 2009 with people having high hopes of helping women with the claim that their demands have not been met by other financial institutions, where is the truth, have their demands been met or not and where are men’s bank? May be men should have their bank too! It is equality era, without quality!

Creation and establishment of side gangs have been used in many countries worldwide but at the end they have turn to be thorns to those who helped establishing them.

Afghanistan’s Taliban were initially supported in the 1970s and 1980s by western countries to push away the Soviet’s political and economic influence but now they are the major problem to US and western allies in the Arab land, now called terrorist!

The former greater Sudan government also supported so many militia groups to suppress the South Sudanese and Darfur but now it has been a different story. Khartoum was not responding to people’s demands but busy building small armed groups against its own citizens for more than forty years. Tanzania is not far from that, especially with increasing unemployment and poverty, the gangs will be hiding place for those who want to legitimize their looting and even banditry.

Solutions and a way to prevent such things happening in Tanzania; first, let the government formed by the ruling political party not allow the Green guards, Red guards and CUF Youths be given martial trainings instead ideology and inculcating good citizenry should take the front seat.

Second, the buildings constructed during one party era be transferred to state since all contributed but with the advent of multiparty politics they were no longer meant for and owned by one party but for and by all political parties, state.

Third, state apparatus (police, army and national intelligence service) be used to maintain peace and do justice not biased on political parties. And they should not be used to intimidate, the gun-boot tactics!

Last, no political party runs business; claim to be holding the key to good living standard, key to unemployment by establishing its own institution, political parties are vehicles of ideologies not economic playgrounds.

We need to be very watchful on the political parties’ activities. Some are dying by planting seeds of discord, some are growing and expanding without specific ideological backups and some are vehicles for confusion rather cohesion and vision for better Tanzania. Some parties consist of fifth columnists in them working for foreign governments.

As Robert William Service during the Balkan wars once wrote that, “It’s easy to fight when everything’s right and you’re mad with the thrill and the glory; it’s easy to cheer when victory’s near… It’s a different song when everything’s wrong”. It is now easy to uproot the bad nibs when things have not gone out of hand when we are still united and having peaceful and happy life before things go from bad to worse.

By Joseph Ogana

Ogana is a socio-political analyst based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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