Anxious incumbent Members of Parliaments and establishment candidates from Chama cha Mapinduzi made their final pitch to primary voters last week, mindful that they could be the next to fall in an unpredictable election year that has claimed several veteran lawmakers.
The outcome of the first round of CCM primaries showed the ruling party’s old guard routed by candidates who are willing to shake up the system.
More than 80 MPs including six ministers were voted out.
The choices they made in last week’s races will help determine the face CCM will present to voters when control of the Union House of Parliament and House of Representative in Zanzibar is at stake.
There is no reliable way to determine whether voters are angrier than they were during anti-establishment voter revolts in 2005, but they are certainly louder.
Advances in technology have made talk radio, cable television and online communications both more sophisticated and more accessible.
It is easier for a candidate in 2010 without institutional backing to gain recognition and build support from a much broader and far-flung audience.
Heavyweights edged out
Voters went to the polls on Sunday, August 1 in 26 regions in a series of primaries that will help fill out the October line-up of CCM in what is shaping up as a memorable national election year.
Former heavyweights who dominated the party and government for over 30 years were edged out in the race.
Among the heavyweights who lost was outgoing Mtera MP John Malecela, who has been a legislator for the constituency for the past 35 years.
Mr Malecela lost to 38-year-old Tarime District youth secretary Livingstone Lusinde.
The Dodoma regional CCM secretary, John Barongo, said Malecela got 5,379 votes while the winner polled 5,810.
Mr Malecela was the country’s prime minister from 1990 to 1994.
Other political heavyweights who lost the race included Prof Philemon Sarungi, the outgoing Rorya MP, who was edged out by the Councillor for Koryo Ward, Lamek Airo.
Other prominent politicians who fell by the wayside were the outgoing legislator for Mufindi, Joseph Mungai, who lost to Mahmoud Mgimwa and Mchinga MP, Mudhihir Mudhihir who lost to Said Mtanda.
William Shelukindo, a long-serving senior civil servant and an MP since Independence from Bumbuli, also lost in the primaries.
January Makamba, the 36-year-old son of CCM national secretary general Yusuph Makamba, surprised many by his unprecedented victory with 14,612 votes over Mr Shelukindo, who managed only 1,700 votes.
The list included sitting ministers in the current government. Mwamtumu Mahiza, the current Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training was defeated by Dustan Kitandula, who commanded a 10,867-vote lead in the Mkinga constituency in Tanga Region. The minister polled 9,182 votes out of the 19,937 votes cast.
The Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Shamsa Mwangunga lost the primaries at Ubungo Constituency in Dar es Salaam, while Dr Diodorus Kamala, the Minister for East African Co-operation and current chairman of EAC Ministers’ Council, lost the Nkenge seat to Asumpta Mshama a former air hostess.
Joel Bendera, Deputy Minister for Information, Culture and Sports lost the CCM primaries for Korogwe Urban Constituency.
In Zanzibar, CCM deputy secretary general Saleh Feruzi and two senior ministers were among aspirants who lost in the Sunday primaries. Feruzi was defeated by former CCM youth wing chairman Hamad Masauni, who led by 990 votes in Kikwajuni constituency.
CCM urban district secretary Fatma Shomari said her office was still compiling the results, “but many aspirants have filed complaints alleging irregularities in several stations in the district.”
Ministers who were reported to have lost in the primaries include Minister for Agriculture Burhani Saadat (Kikwajuni seat) in the House of Representatives and Minister for Health Sultan Mohamed Mugheiry, who vied for the Mji-Mkongwe seat in the Zanzibar House.
Mr Saadat was defeated by Mahmoud Mussa, while the Minister for Health was beaten by Simai Mohamed Said who got 5,017 votes against Mr Mugheiry 1,722.
Deputy Ministers Tafana Kassim Mzee (Construction), Mzee Ali Ussi (Communication) and Khatib Suleiman (Agriculture) also did not make it for the Uzini, Chaani and Bububu constituencies, respectively.
Ministers who made it in the primaries were Hussein Ali Mwinyi (Defence), Muhammed Seif Khatib (Union Affairs) and Seif Ali Iddi (Deputy, Foreign Affairs) for Kwahani, Uzini, and Kitope constituencies, respectively.
Other prominent CCM personalities who won in the Zanzibar primaries were Haroun Ali Suleiman (Minister for Education) in Makunduchi; Shamsi Vuai Nahodha (Chief Minister) in Mwanakwerekwe; Ali Juma Shamuhuna (Donge); Machano Othman Saidi (Chumbuni), and Hamza Hassan Juma (Kwamtipura).
CCM secretary general Yusuph Makamba said the party’s national executive committee will be sitting on August 14 in Dodoma to determine the final list of candidates who will vie for national election in October.
He said they were still receiving complaints from members who lost for verification.
Mr Makamba said CCM would take action against those implicated by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau.
Despite the bigwigs losing so heavily to Young Turks, the primaries were beset by many irregularities in several polling stations countrywide as CCM went into intra-party campaigns to pick candidates for councillorship and parliament for the October general election.
Some of the defeated big names have vowed to seek the intervention of the relevant party organs.
Outgoing Nzega legislator Lucas Selelii, described the polls as “undemocratic and marred by corrupt practices. “Millionaires came to Nzega to campaign for my defeat, dishing out money and other items to woo voters,” he said.
Joseph Mungai, for decades an MP representing Iringa Region constituency claimed that two days before the preferential polls his opponent circulated posters and photocopies of newspapers with headlines erroneously suggesting he had been arrested by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau and would therefore not contest.
Omari Kwaangw’, who was seeking re-election as Babati Urban legislator was a little more optimistic.
Mr Kwaangw’ said since the nomination of candidates was not over, he would forward his complaints to “the top party organs which will be meeting to discuss all aspirants, regardless of whether they have won or lost, and give the last word”.
Outgoing Bumbuli legislator William Shelukindo conceded defeat but said it was all thanks to “years of scheming engineered by people within our party harbouring ulterior motives”.
CCM holds the majority in the House of Parliament but opposition parties have vowed to challenge the ruling party during the October election.
Strong opposition parties like Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) and the Civic United Front are studying the results of the ruling party primaries with a view to wooing defeated candidates from CCM who either failed because they did not have the financial muscle to compete or because of the irregularities that had marred the whole election.
With primary elections also expected from other political parties, the political scene in Tanzania will be changing three months from now as the Tanzanians go into the general election on October 30 this year.
Candidates from all political parties have two months to attract the votes necessary to move on from the primary election to the October general election.
Perhaps the most exciting race this year will be that for the presidency, with the incumbent Jakaya Kikwete face two strong presidential candidates in the persons of Dr Wilbroad Slaa from Chadema who was MPs for Karatu constituency for the same party is vying, and Prof Ibrahim Lipumba of the CUF.