IT’S official: Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa and National Assembly Speaker Samuel Sitta have been heading two warring factions of MPs that were threatening to tear the ruling party apart.
A member of the three-man team formed last year by the CCM National Executive Council (NEC) to investigate the rift among the ruling party legislators, Mr Pius Msekwa, told reporters here yesterday that Mr Lowassa and the Speaker would formally be summoned before the special committee headed by former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi next month and be asked to cease fire.
Mr Msekwa, who is also the CCM Vice-Chairman (Mainland), said their team, whose mandate has been extended for a month, would submit the final report to NEC in April or May. He explained that the conflict revolved around the report by a parliamentary select committee on the award of emergency power generation contract to Richmond.
The report by the committee headed by Kyela CCM legislator Harrison Mwakyembe insinuated that Mr Lowassa had influenced the appointment of Richmond, causing heated debate in the House, which led to the former PM’s resignation, along with Energy and Minerals and Industry, Trade and Marketing ministers Dr Ibrahim Msabaha and Nazir Karamagi, respectively.
The Monduli CCM legislator made no secret his bitterness and accused Dr Mwakyembe’s team of malice, citing how the committee Chairman presented the report to the House with relish. Mr Lowassa complained that the parliamentary probe sanctioned by the Speaker was calculated to tarnish his reputation and force him out of office.
Mr Msekwa explained that the ensuing enmity between Mr Lowassa and Speaker Sitta split the CCM backbenchers between them and the conflict was extended to the constituencies, where the two factions waged a money-fuelled power struggle hinging on the next general election. “Each group accused the other of using money to corrupt voters in their constituencies and this heightened the conflict,” he said.