Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema and the ruling CCM party have announced their respective procedures for nominating candidates for the presidential and parliamentary polls ahead of the October General Election.
Incumbent President John Magufuli will likely run for a second and final five-year term under CCM. The party also announced a timetable for aspirants to succeed Zanzibar President Ali Shein, whose second term ends in October.
Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, Chadema Secretary General John Mnyika said they were ready to form an alliance with other parties for the October polls.
“We are inviting any party that is truly interested in toppling CCM from its pedestal of power for discussions on forming a fresh alliance,” Mr Mnyika said.
In the 2015 election, a coalition of Chadema, the Civic United Front (CUF), National League for Democracy and NCCR-Mageuzi—called Ukawa—agreed on former prime minister Edward Lowassa as its joint presidential candidate.
Mr Lowassa garnered 39.97 per cent of the votes, finishing a close second to CCM’s President Magufuli, with Ukawa winning 101 of the 367 parliamentary seats.
But chances of a similar alliance appear low.
Chadema has been hit by several defections by leading members to NCCR-Mageuzi, which appears to be making a comeback.
CUF was also split when veteran Zanzibar opposition strongman Seif Shariff Hamad moved to the ACT-Wazalendo party last year, with a large number of his followers.
ACT-Wazalendo’s vocal leader Zitto Kabwe, in a tweet last week, hinted at joining forces with Chadema.
Code of conduct
Last week, the National Electoral Commission notified political parties that they would be required to sign a new election code of conduct or risk being banned from the October poll. The details of the new code have not been made public.
This past week, Chadema invited its members interested in running for the presidential to start formally submitting their credentials for scrutiny by June 15.
According to Chadema’s rules and procedures, choosing a presidential candidate is an “internal party process” to be followed by other measures to be announced “in due course”, Mr Mnyika said.
At least three Chadema members have publicly stated their intention to vie for the presidency. Ex-parliamentarian Tundu Lissu, who has been out of the country since an assassination attempt in 2017, said he would apply despite continuing fears for his safety should he decide to come home from Belgium.
Mr Lissu told the Mwanahalisi online publication that he had only been awaiting Chadema’s “blessing”.