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How Kikwete clinched the CCM nomination

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Posted  Monday, May 16   2005 at  00:00

The NEC’s meeting on May 3 began by dissuading former Zanzibar Chief Minister Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, from contesting and thus endorsing incumbent Amani Karume as CCM’s flag bearer in the Zanzibar presidential race. Another source, a long-time and highly respected NEC member said, "The second item on the agenda was Malecela’s appeal, which was predictably thrown out immediately on the grounds of non-electability."

Although Mr Mkapa had underscored the importance of adhering to the 13-point criteria set by the party, he added five more of his own as the day progressed. He said he wanted a successor who was not only young but who had been come up through the party ranks.

Among Dr Salim, Dr Kigoda, Prof Mwandosya, and Frederick Sumaye, only Kikwete met the criteria, having joined the party as young man fresh from college. The five were asked to leave the hall so that they could be discussed.

"It was at this juncture that somehow the discussion veered towards aspirant Dr Salim," said our source.

"Ali Ameir Mohamed, a former CCM deputy secretary-general for Zanzibar and Minister for Home Affairs took to the floor and all but demolished him." With the discussions turning highly personal against some candidates, Kigoma NEC member, Prof Joseph Mbwiliza pointed at the fact that it was unprocedural to do so since either Dr Salim or any of the other candidates were not present to defend themselves.

Mr Mkapa then called upon the delegates to vote as per his decision of one-man one-vote. Ironically, the ballot papers used were the ones meant for one-man three-votes. Kikwete led the pack with 78 votes, followed by Dr Salim with 45 and Prof Mwandosya with 33.

Prime Minister Sumaye had 30 and Dr Kigoda 21. This seems to have worried Mr Mkapa. On the third day at the General Congress, Kikwete emerged a winner when he garnered 1,072 votes, Dr Salim 476 and Prof Mwandosya 122.

But analysts said the rift caused by the process at Chimwaga might not be bridged soon.

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