from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – ENDORSED by his opposition rivals, and nominated by his party to contest the poll, it seems a foregone conclusion that President John Magufuli will win a second term at the helm of Tanzania.
This is buttressed by his Chama Cha Mapinduzi ‘CCM’ (Swahili for Party of the Revolution) being the only party to rule the country since it attained independence from Britain in 1961.
However, in spite of all these pointers of another win for the party and him, Magufuli (60) urges CCM, one of Africa’s longest-serving ruling parties, to avoid being carried away.
“Let us not expect to win the general election by 100 percent,” he frankly told party delegates after he was endorsed in the administrative capital city, Dodoma.
He was unopposed.
“I thank you all for your endorsement but let us work hard and sell our manifesto,” Magufuli told the meeting.
CCM’s manifesto will undeniably be a continuation of the reforms Magufuli initiated in his current, and first, term, that began in 2015 when he succeeded Jakaya Kikwete.
The fight against corruption and the empowerment of the black majority feature prominently.
Before the nomination by his party, Magufuli earlier this year received a major boost in his re-election ambitions.
In a rare show of political maturity and inter-party harmony in a largely-peaceful country of 57 million people that has recently suffered some intense rivalry among political players, the opposition Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) has declared its support for Magufuli.
“We have agreed to endorse Magufuli who will be vying for the presidency on the ticket of the ruling party,” Augustino Mrema, the TLP national chairman, said.
Analysts this week explained Magufuli’s modesty despite all indications of a victory for him and his party when polls are held in October.
“He is indeed assured of victory but wants his party to work more to ensure it reopens the gap between CCM and its rivals,” said analyst, James Bendera, in Dar es Salaam.
While it has maintained its dominance, CCM saw its share of the vote drop markedly in 2015.
In the presidential contest, Magufuli secured 58,46 percent of the vote against Edward Lowassa’s 39,97 percent.
Lowassa, the former Prime Minister had contested as an opposition candidate after quitting the party over factionalism. He has since returned to boost the prospects of a now-united CCM.
In the legislative poll, CCM secured 55 percent to 31,75 percent by the closest rival, Chama Cha Mademokrasia (Chadema).
The figures were a drop from 2010 when Kikwete managed 62,83 percent of the election.
CCM managed 60,20 percent against Chadema’s 23,86.
At the first legislative election in 1960, ahead of self-rule, CCM, then contesting the Tanganyika National Union (TANU) managed 82,82 percent.
Founding president, Julius Nyerere won a landslide 98,15 percent of the vote.
“The figures have been dropping over the years and Magufuli would not want to be remembered as the leader who bowed out leaving the party with the lowest winning margin,” political commentator, Adika Ezekiel, said.
Magufuli has reiterated he would not contest a third term.
He has pledged credible polls, whose exact date is yet to be set.
“I want to assure everyone that the elections will be free and fair, for all political parties,” Magufuli pledged at the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the polls.
– CAJ News