“After consulting with my family, friends and my business partners, I arrived at the decision to step down, with the intention of maintaining my respect and integrity among party members and other wananchi as well as my leaders who I believe after my resignation will get an opportunity to focus on other challenges facing the party.”
So announced the honorable Member of Parliament from Igunga Mr. Rostam Aziz on the 13th of July, 2011 his decision to quit what he called ‘gutter politics’ to a group of elders and party officials at his constituency.
The news sparked a media frenzy and the story quickly spread in the electronic and social media. At about 3.30pm, the first official confirmation of the news came through. The CCM MP for Bumbuli and the Party’s Secretary for Politics and International Affairs January Makamba tweeted:
In the twittersphere the response ranged from surprise at the abruptness of Mr. Aziz’s departure, cautious optimism that this may be a chance for the ruling party to start afresh, suspicious of CCM at their supposed attempts at deluding the electorate, to anger that this was a political tactic aimed at distracting the country away from government incompetence.
Meanwhile, on Clouds FM, the presenters of the drive-time show Jahazi lamented the fact that, seemingly, once again, Tanzanian politics was embroiled in personality politics as opposed to the serious engagement with issues.
Back in Igunga, The Citizen reports:
Some [constituents] carried posters declaring: “No development in Igunga without Rostam. Several of the constituents collapsed as the long-time MP announced that he was quitting from the position and that of a member of CCM’s national executive committee.
Mr Aziz arrived in Igunga at around 1pm and proceeded to CCM offices where he found members of the party’s youth wing holding a meeting.He told them that he was scheduled to speak to the constituency’s elders.
As he was meeting the CCM youth, some of his supporters carried posters reading: “Igunga without Rostam, no development”; “If they expel you from CCM we are all going to quit from the party” and “We love you, our MP, and we have confidence in you.”
So, who is Rostam Aziz and why is he such a polarizing figure?