Dar es Salaam/Dodoma. Former Permanent Representative to the United Nations Augustine Mahiga is the latest entrant in the CCM nomination race.
Dr Mahiga announced his candidacy yesterday at a low-key news conference at the Tanzania Information Services (Maelezo) auditorium in Dar es Salaam.
As Dr Mahiga was announcing his entry, a Kigoma farmer and Standard Seven school dropout sought to collect nomination papers in Dodoma without the required Sh1 million fee.
At the same time, Dr Mwele Malecela became the second woman after Ms Amina Salum Ali to enter the race for the CCM ticket by picking up nomination forms.
She said she wanted to inject fresh momentum in the national leadership. It also emerged that Home Affairs minister Mathias Chikawe was also in the race.
In Dar es Salaam, Dr Mahiga said he would revive the country’s economy and ensure a better environment for both social and political activities.
Dr Mahiga, a respected diplomat who has served in different capacities at local and international levels, said CCM needed to set principles and rules to govern candidates’ expenditure in the ongoing campaign.
Speaking in the presence of his wife, Elizabeth, and son, Dr Mahiga said CCM must ensure the succession process was fair and transparent.
“I’ve been thinking for a while about this matter. I understand what it means and what it takes to be president. I have therefore made a decision, and I’m asking my party to consider my intentions and suitability,” he said.
According to Dr Mahiga, the process was “very challenging” for some of candidates since not all were capable of going around 15 regions to collect the signatures of at least 450 guarantors.
“There should not be a point where some of candidates fail to reach people while others reach thousands...the party must intervene and make sure there is a level playing ground. People should avoid buying voters or being bought,” he said.
Commenting on what Tanzanians should expect from him if nominated and elected, Dr Mahiga said although there was advancement in agriculture, trade and industry, his government would boost and encourage investment.
He said his government would step up the war against corruption, adding that fighting corruption needed more than just political statements.
“Corruption was there even during Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s time, but it is changing and advancing, and therefore we need to change tactics as well,” he said.
Dr Mahiga admitted that he was not as famous as other candidates, but highlighted his international profile as a key factor that gave him confidence.
A Standard Seven leaver from Kasulu District, Mr Elidephonce Bilohe, arrived at CCM headquarters minus the mandatory Sh1 million fee, and was promptly turned away by CCM officials.
However, he went to a bank where he paid the money and was told to collect the forms today.
Speaking to journalists after he was turned away, Mr Bilohe said he had no leadership experience. He also said he does not have a university degree or an equivalent level of education needed for one to be considered as a CCM presidential candidate.
“The highest level of education I attained is Standard Seven, but I have decided to come forward and run for president because it is my right as a CCM member,” he told amused reporters.
Dr Malecela arrived at CCM headquarters in an auto rickshaw (bajaji), escorted by cheering supporters.
Addressing reporters after receiving the forms, Dr Malecela, a renowned scientist and daughter of former Prime Minister Samuel Malecela, said hers would be a mission to lead Tanzanians to greater prosperity.
“As you know, in science everything has to be based on facts and data. I want to ensure that we also practise our politics on a similar basis. People are tired of empty promises,” she said.
Dr Malecela, who is the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) director general, refused to list her priorities on the grounds that it was CCM which should come up with them through its manifesto, but she outlined areas which would be the focus of her government if she was nominated and elected.
She also promised to front women’s interests, noting that it was the only way of ensuring that women’s welfare was give priority.
Dr Malecela also promised to fight corruption and improve social services, notably the provision of health care.
Nzega MP Hamisi Kigwangalla promised a new dawn for the country in if he wins race.
He said the challenges the nation was facing needed new thinking and a fresh approach, and promised to form a lean government which that would react quickly to problems the people were facing.
“Don’t expect considerable changes if you continue to be ruled by the same people with the same thinking. A new Tanzania needs new thinking from a new team,” he said.
Dr Kigwangalla said accountability would be central to his government’s operations and promised to make sure that institutions charged with fighting corruption were given more powers to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.