Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema has nominated Tundu Lissu, who returned to the country last week from almost three years’ self-exile, as presidential candidate for 2020 polls.
The Chadema vice-chairman nomination now awaits approval by the national delegates conference slated for next week Tuesday.
The party’s deputy secretary-general Salum Mwalimu (from Zanzibar) has been proposed to be Mr Lissu's running mate, while Said Issa Mohamed has been nominated as Chadema’s presidential candidate for the semi-autonomous island Zanzibar.
Mr Lissu garnered 405 votes during the general council meeting on Monday attended by 453 of its 456 members. Central Zone chairman Lazaro Nyalandu and Mayrose Majinge got 36 and one vote respectively.
Should the delegates’ conference endorse Mr Lissu he will challenge President John Magufuli in the October 28 general election.
However, Mr Lissu has several pending cases, one charging him with sedition, and recently, his sureties withdrew claiming that they don’t know his whereabouts and thus the prosecution filed an arrest warrant.
According to the timetable released recently by the National Electoral Commission, the names of all presidential candidates and their running mates, parliamentary and councilor contestants will be presented by August 25 before campaigns kick off on August 26.
Chadema had seven contestants seeking to be the party flagbearers including Mr Lissu, Mr Nyalandu, and Dr Majinge.
Others were Isaya Mwita, Leonard Manyama, Gasper Mwanalyela and Neo Simba, who had returned their nomination forms for the party primaries.
After lengthy consultations, the party’s Central Committee tabled the names of Mr Lissu, Mr Nyalandu and Dr Majinge before the general council meeting held at the Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, where the former Singida East MP was voted overwhelmingly.
Mr Lissu returned in the country on July 27 from Belgium where had gone to receive treatment after surviving an assassination attempt on September 7, 2017 in capital Dodoma.
Addressing general council members on Monday, Mr Lissu said opposition parties face electoral hurdles in the October elections.
“Today, I would like to explain what this year’s general election means to the opposition because the National Electoral Commission is the one responsible for organising the polls,” he said.
He said that since 1992 when the multiparty system was reinstated, NEC has been backing the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) through its structure that consists of returning officers most of whom are the party cadres.
“Therefore, the opposition should expect and get ready for its candidates in the parliamentary and councillorship positions to be dropped against laws, procedures and regulations,” he claimed.
According to him, the opposition should also expect on incidences of returning officers running away from their offices to avoid providing and receiving nomination forms from opposition candidates.
- Additional reporting by Christopher Kidanka