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The East African : Sep 12th 2015
The EastAfrican NEWS SEPTEMBER 12-18,2015 COUNTDOWN TO OCTOBER ELECTION P≥o-Ukawa suppo≥te≥s wea≥ ‘fools and loafe≥s’ tag p≥oudly By JENERALI ULIMWENGU Special Correspondent AFRICAN ELECTORAL campaigns have always been dramatic, colourful, a bit mad and sometimes dangerous. In Tanzania, the cam- paigns have not been any different, and there have been a few occasions when eyebrows have been raised. It started with the launch Chadema candidate Edward Lowassa (second left in pink shirt) and wife Regina Lowassa at a rally in Tabora. Lowassa is campaigning on a platform of change. Picture: File Gloves are off in CCM, Chadema showdown Howeve≥, fo≥ unexplained ≥easons, Ukawa has not been vocal on the stalled constitutional ≥eview By CHRISTOPHER KIDANKA The EastAfrican presidential campaigns, with both the opposition and the ruling party promising to do things differently. The Umoja wa Katiba ya C Wananchi (Ukawa), which is the alliance of major opposition parties, is carrying on with its “Movement for Change” — known by the acronym M4C — campaign, which it started after the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) rejected the draft constitution prepared by the Constitution Review Commission. The joint opposition can- didate, ex-prime minister Edward Lowassa, who is running on a Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) ticket, has repeatedly quoted the country’s founding president Julius Nyerere who in 1995 famously stated that Tanzanians needed change, and that if they did not get it within CCM, they would find it outside the party. Ironically, CCM’s presiden- tial candidate Dr John Pombe Magufuli too seems to agree that Tanzania needs change, but insists that “true change will come from CCM.” Dr Magufuli, a doctor of chemistry, is promising to fix the country’s ailing healthcare system and to rid the civil service of lazy workers. However, political analyst Prof Mwesiga Baregu dis- hange has become the buzzword in Tanzania’s misses Magufuli’s promise as mere rhetoric, arguing that true change would only be brought by a people-centred constitution, which Ukawa holds dear. “CCM is preaching change belatedly because they have realised that the people are thirsty for change and they have no commitment to bringing about meaningful change,” he said. However, for unexplained reasons, Ukawa has not been vocal on the stalled constitutional review, which resulted in the formation of the alliance in the first place. Ukawa was formed af- ter major opposition parties walked out of the Constitu- TALKING POINT tional Assembly to protest CCM’s rejection of the draft constitution. As the campaigns heat up with the election date fast approaching, Lowassa has claimed that CCM is poised to rig the elections, urging his voters to come out and vote for him and “guard” the votes on election day. But CCM’s vice chairman for the Tanzania Mainland, Phillip Mangula, has said this is an attempt to instill fear in the citizentry and a precursor of possible election violence. On Monday, Mr Lowassa addressed two campaign rallies in Dar es Salaam and said he is prepared to prevent CCM from stealing his votes. “Let me assure you they will never steal my votes unless we die.” As per the rules and pro- cedures of the National Electoral Committee, voters are required to be at least 100 metres from the polling station after casting their votes as voting contnues; eventual tallying is done under police guard. Speaking to CCM elders in CCM’s Dr Magufuli Chadema’s candidate Lowassa has levelled allegations of planned vote rigging by the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi. The ruling party has denied the allegations, calling them attempts to create an atmosphere of fear and lay the ground for election violence by the opposition parties. the southern city of Mbeya last week, Mr Mangula said there were people out to create an environment of chaos by instructing citizens to “guard” the votes on election day, thus usurping the duty of the security organs and party agents. Campaign This year’s election comes at a time when the shilling is struggling against the dollar, allegations of corruption in government are the talking point among the masses and the failed constitution review is hanging over the ruling party. of the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi’s campaign at a mammoth rally in Dar es Salaam two weeks ago. Former president Benjamin Mkapa came as part of the heavyweight array of CCM’s bigwigs mobilised to drum up support for their candidate, John Magufuli. Mr Mkapa, attacked those who had left the ruling party to join the opposition, calling them “fools and loafers.” An observer from Kenya wondered how a former president could call his appointees such names knowing they had “served under him, they were his own choices.” In the following days, Ukawa supporters in the streets of Dar es Salaam and 5 Former president Benjamin Mkapa attacked those who had left the ruling party to join the opposition, calling them ‘fools and loafers.’ elsewhere were seen wearing T-shirts inscribed “Certified Loafer,” and opposition campaigners across the country used the word “loafers” to address campaign meetings. Then there is the mayor of Dar es Salaam, Didas Masaburi, who has been accused of having mobilised youth, dressed them in Chadema colours and paid them to demonstrate as if they were Chadema supporters opposed to former prime minister Edward Lowassa being chosen as their party’s presidential candidate. Their demonstration was broken up by the police, who arrested a few. Later, a recording of Mr Masaburi consoling the hired thugs was aired on radio.
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