Arusha. Chadema presidential candidate Edward Lowassa yesterday took Arusha by storm as he addressed a rally at Sinoni Primary School grounds.
Thousands of Arusha residents started to flock and take crucial positions in the grounds from as early as 8am. The meeting started later at around 4.30pm. Arusha is one of Mr Lowassa and Chadema’s stronghold regions.
In the busiest business streets in the city, residents chanted Chadema and Ukawa slogans while carrying party flags. Bodaboda operators stole the show as they rode motorcycles while waving Chadema flags and Mr Lowassa’s posters in the air.
The city was brought to a standstill as residents converged in their multitudes to the Chadema and Ukawa campaign rally.
The rally, which marked historic Chadema and Ukawa campaign in the city, was a sea of colourful red, white, blue and the famous party uniform ‘combat’. Majority of Mr Lowassa’s supporters were dressed in the party’s colours and waved matching flags.
Hundreds of supporters collapsed as his motorcade entered the grounds. Everyone struggled to see and touch him. Other than Chadema officials and other opposition candidates for various constituencies under Ukawa, the rally also attracted a range of people from all walks of life.
Police and other security officials had a difficult time controlling Mr Lowassa’s supporters who turned out to welcome him. Traffic jam became terrible in all Arusha city streets in the city as hundreds of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians headed to the grounds.
One of the founders of CCM who defected from the party last week, Mr Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, stole the show after Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe introduced him to the crowd. Addressing the rally, Mr Lowassa said he was overwhelmed with joy following the hero’s welcome from Arusha residents.
He said if elected, he will make sure the country’s economy grew at a high speed and that every mwananchi would share the national cake.
“ I am tired of poverty. I want to bring positive change in this country...we cannot continue like this,” he said.
Mr Lowassa promised to help bodaboda riders, food vendors and petty traders to do business in a conducive environment. He said his government would come up with a plan to resolve bodaboda and food vendors’ problems in seven days after being sworn in.
He also promised to establish a special bank that would offer loans to bodaboda operators, food vendors and (petty traders) machingas. Mr Lowassa said if elected, he will form a government that will attend its duties at a highest speed.
“My government will operate at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour, if someone fails to cope with us, they will be allowed to step aside,” he said. Speaking to supporters, Mr Ngombale said he was a man of change and that his decision to move from CCM was driven by his beliefs. “I am a man of change...I believe in change, and CCM must go,” said Mr Ngombale who has been a member of Tanu and CCM for more than 60 years.
He said the ruling party has been in power for more than 50 years but its performance has been going down year after year. He added that the party is devastated and can no longer manage to cope with change.
“We need to accept the reality that CCM is no longer a party that can lead this country, the party has lost direction, we need changes,” he said.
Mr Ngombale criticised President Jakaya Kikwete for “failing the country in the past 10 years.” He said: “ When President Kikwete took the power, he promised that the country’s economy will grow at the rate of 7 per cent, but 10 years later, the country’s economy is in limbo,it is growing at less than 7 per cent, it means CCM cannot lead this country anymore.”
He said CCM has been conducting uncivilised campaigns by attacking personalities instead of discussing issues. He said the party has a lot of policies to express from its election manifesto but because of poor party leaders, they have been discussing people instead of telling what they were planning to do for the nation.
He said: “From my heart, changes are necessary in this country... CCM and its leaders can no longer think out of the box. We need people like Mr Lowassa who can think and plan for a better future,” he said.
Former Premier Frederick Sumaye said nothing could stop Mr Lowassa and Ukawa from leading the country. He said Mr Magufuli and other CCM candidates were not clean as it has been said by his supporters.
He alleged that Mr Magufuli has so far failed to control corruption in the ministry for Works and thus could not fight corruption at the national level.
Moreover, Chadema candidate for Arusha urban constituency, Mr Godbless Lema said there were plans to rig election and that his party and its supporters won’t accept any kind of dirty game.
NCCR-Mageuzi, Mr James Mbatia said the government was in favour of the ruling party and that it has beedn selling its shares in various companies to support the party.
He said so far shares worth Sh176 billion have aalredy sold and that it was planning to sell others shares worth Sh412 billion from one of big financial institution.