Tanzania election: Who is running for president?

Monday October 26 2020

Some presidential candidates for the October 28, 2020, Tanzania election. PHOTOS | AFP | NMG

By The EastAfrican

Tanzanians go to the polls on Wednesday, October 28.

The voters on the Tanzanian mainland and the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar will cast their ballots for a president and members of Parliament.

There are 15 presidential candidates in this year's election.

Here is a list of some of the main contenders.

John Pombe Magufuli, 61


Tanzanian President John Pombe Mangufuli. PHOTO | AFP


The incumbent, who is flying the Chama Cha Mapinduzi presidential flag in this election, is a former maths and chemistry teacher with a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Dar es Salaam. He also served as minister in the Jakaya Kikwete administration.

Besides cracking down on corruption and purging the government payroll of ghost workers, Magufuli has pursued mega projects including the Mwalimu Nyerere Hydroelectric power project in Rufiji, the standard gauge railway, and revival of the national carrier.

He has also overseen reforms in the minerals and extractives sector that have seen him clash with firms such as Acacia. For his second term, he has pledged to continue building the economy.

Tundu Lissu, 55


Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu. PHOTO | AFP

The opposition Union presidential candidate for Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) is a lawyer and has served the Tanganyika Law Society and the Bar Association of Tanzania Mainland as its president in 2016. He first joined elective politics as a member of parliament for Singida East constituency on a Chadema ticket in 2010.

Lissu has had several run-ins with the government. He survived an attempt on his life in 2017 and went into exile while seeking treatment abroad.

He has raised concerns over a number of democratic and economic issues that resulted in a seven-day suspension from campaigning early this month. One of his campaign promises is that he will undo CCM’s agenda.

Bernard Membe, 66


ACT Wazalendo presidential candidate Bernard Membe. PHOTO | THE CITIZEN | NMG

The opposition presidential candidate for ACT-Wazalendo (Alliance for Change and Transparency), Bernard Membe, served as a member of parliament for Mtama constituency from 2000 to 2015.

A diplomat, he is also a former Foreign minister and was a member of the ruling CCM until February 2020 when was expelled over and violation of the party’s ethics and constitution when audio of him and others castigating CCM went viral.

In the 2015 election, Membe sought CCM’s presidential nomination but failed and has since then been at loggerheads with President Magufuli. He has not campaigned, drawing an uncertainty around his candidature since his party leaders too announced their support for Tundu Lissu.

Seif Sharif Hamad, 77


ACT Wazalendo presidential candidate for Zanzibar Seif Sharif Hamad. PHOTO | AFP

The presidential candidate for Zanzibar under the flag of opposition party ACT-Wazalendo (Alliance for Change and Transparency), joined the party in March 2019 but has contested the Zanzibari presidency five times under the Civic United Front (CUF).

He started his political career with the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi. In May 1988, he was expelled from CCM and in 1992 he joined hands with others to form the CUF.

He has been campaigning on the independence of the Isles especially on matters of oil and gas, Zanzibari national airline and independent representation of Zanzibar in regional and international blocs and organisations. He has endorsed the candidature of Tundu Lissu for Tanzania Mainland.

Hussein Mwinyi, 53


Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) presidential candidate for Zanzibar Hussein Mwinyi. PHOTO | THE CITIZEN | NMG

The CCM presidential candidate for Zanzibar, and Minister for Defence and National Security of Tanzania, is the son of Tanzania’s second president, Ally Hassan Mwinyi.

Despite being a Zanzibari, his first foray into politics was as a member of parliament for Mkuranga constituency in the mainland from 2000 to 2005. He then shifted to the Isles where he served as MP for Kwahani constituency from 2005 to date.

He is a qualified medical doctor and a former lecturer at the privately-run Hubert Kairuki Memorial University. His 2020 general election campaigns have focused on maintaining the union of Zanzibar and Tanganyika as well as ensuring further economic development for the Zanzibaris.