Tanzania’s ruling party CCMhasmoved todownplay the impact of former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa’s defection to the opposition.
The party said it was still united and would win the General Election set for October.
Mr Lowassa’sdefectionhadled to speculation that moreinfluentialpoliticianswould defect from the ruling party in protestto the manner in which the party’s nomination process was held.
However, the Dar es Salaam region publicity secretary, Simba Gaddafi told journalistsat a pressbriefingWednesday thatonly Mr Lowassa had returned CCM’s membership card.
“If Lowassa was leaving with many people, you would have seen them by now,but he is the only one whohasreturned his membership card.
“Mr Lowassa knows why he has defected,but it is the right of any member to leave the party,” Mr Gaddafi said.
In a move seen to underplay the impact of Mr Lowassa’s departure, the CCM press briefing, held a day after the former premier announced his defection, was notaddressed bysenior CCMmembersas had been widely expected.
Mr Lowassa, a former CCM strongman, blamed the Chama cha Mapinduzi leadership for his defection, saying the party’s presidential nomination process last month was flawed. He joined the main opposition party Chadema on whose ticket he could run in the October elections.