Tanzania's Chadema backs Uhuru Kenyatta re-election bid

Monday May 29 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and his Deputy William Ruto. Chadema party says it supports their re-election bid. FILE PHOTO |JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Tanzania opposition party, Chadema, says it is backing the re-election of Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August General Election.

Chadema, short for Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Progress), is centre-right party that campaigns largely on an anti-corruption platform.

Its chairman Freeman Mbowe told the party's council meeting at the weekend that after assessment, they had concluded that Mr Kenyatta was the right candidate for presidency and a better choice for democracy in Kenya.

He said Chadema was dismayed by Kenya’s opposition leader, Mr Raila Odinga, who supported Dr John Magufuli during his presidential campaigns in the 2015 General Election.

When Mr Mbowe asked the council members how they could treat their friends’ enemies, they responded: “Also your enemy.”

Then they broke into applause.



“We supported Raila Odinga during the 2012 elections in Kenya but to our surprise, when it came to the 2015 polls in Tanzania, he supported the CCM candidate, Dr John Magufuli. Odinga is a traitor,’’ said Mr Mbowe.

He commended Mr Kenyatta for expanding democratic space during his term in office.

“Opposition leaders in Kenya haven’t been jailed.”

The party leaders, however, did not give details of the support they would give to Mr Kenyatta, if any.

Earlier this month, Tanzania's Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Augustine Mahiga denied media reports that the country was interfering with the Kenya elections in favour of a particular presidential candidate.

Hacking claims

Kenya's National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale alleged that the National Super Alliance, whose presidential candidate is Mr Odinga, was plotting to hack the National Electoral and Boundaries Commission system in the August 8 polls to rig.

He claimed the opposition was setting up a tallying centre in Tanzania.

In October 2015, Chadema joined with other political parties CUF (Civil United Front), NLD (National League for Democracy), and NCCR-Mageuzi to form Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (UKAWA) and fielded Edward Lowassa for the Tanzania's top job.

He was beaten by Dr Magufuli.