ACT not Lowassa vehicle, party leader insists

Saturday April 18 2015

Edward Lowassa with Bagamoyo Sheikhs who had

Edward Lowassa with Bagamoyo Sheikhs who had paid him a visit. Newest party has started campaigning, prompting claims it’s ex-PM’s outfit. PHOTO | FILE 

By Erick Kabendera

Tanzania’s newest political party, Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT), has started campaigning even as former prime minister Edward Lowassa continues to deny links with the Ujamaa-leaning outfit.

ACT leader Zitto Kabwe embarked on a countrywide tour last week, raising questions whether the former MP is holding the party for Mr Lowassa. The CCM supremo was accused of campaigning too early and threatened with a ban on vying on the ruling party’s ticket.

Some analysts say ACT has put paid to plans by the main opposition party Chadema to secure more seats in the October elections.

Aboubakary Liongo, the spokesperson for Mr Lowassa, however told The EastAfrican that the former premier has no plans of switching parties ahead of the polls.

“Mr Lowassa is neither thinking of defecting nor joining another political party,” said Mr Liongo. “One can’t talk about his defection while he hasn’t even declared whether he will run for president or not.”

Mr Lowassa has not officially declared his candidacy but his political activities since he resigned as prime minister following an emergency power generation scandal in 2008 suggest that he is interested in the presidency.

Religious groups have been flocking to his homes ostensibly to persuade him to run, something that has attracted strong criticism from CCM.

“There are growing concerns within the party about his candidacy; they think he is using his financial muscle to divide the party, making it hard to have fair competition since he would use the money to solicit votes from CCM members,” the source said.

There are claims that Mr Kabwe founded ACT as an alternative vehicle for Mr Lowassa in case he was locked of CCM and the latter is financing the party. However, Mr Kabwe told The EastAfrican he was busy building a support base for the new party and had little time to respond to disruptive propaganda.

“Well wishers and members are contributing to our party,” Mr Kabwe said.