Arusha. Veteran CCM cadre Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru yesterday said Monduli MP Edward Lowassa was the sole candidate who could rescue CCM from intra-party groups which are threatening to tear the ruling party apart ahead of the October General Election.
Mr Ngombale-Mwiru called on all cadres seeking presidential nomination through the ruling party to meet and make amends in a bid to get only one CCM flag-bearer, lest the ruling party shook during the forthcoming polls.
“If Lowassa is approved, CCM will not shake,” insisted Mr Ngombale-Mwiru, explaining that the former Prime Minister was among few seasoned politicians the ruling party had groomed.
Mr Lowassa, who started as a member of the Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu) youth league before he joined the CCM Kivukoni College, had served the party in various capacities, including CCM secretary for Arusha Region, CCM deputy secretary general and a military officer.
“Lowassa is conversant with the history of Tanzania politics and is accepted in and outside the party,” said Mr Mgombale-Mwiru, adding that the former Premier could also defend the proposed new constitution. Mr Ngombale-Mwiru, a veteran politician, who is not subscribed to any religion, commended the CCM national chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete, for pardoning Mr Lowassa, among other presidential hopefuls who were suspended from active politics allegedly for prematurely beginning to campaign for their bid.
The CCM chairman for Geita Region, Mr Joseph Msukuma, stole the show during the rally which attracted thousands of CCM cadres and fans at Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Stadium yesterday when he landed at the pitch by a chopper.
Mr Msukuma was two months ago subscribed to a camp belonging to Mr Mwigulu Nchemba, another presidential hopeful on the ruling party’s ticket, and pointed an accusing finger at the former Premier.
Mr Nchemba’s visits to up-country regions were, however, suspended after Mr Abdulrahman Kinana, the CCM secretary general, called into question the procedure his deputy secretary general for mainland used for capitalising on the ruling party official trips to declare his presidential bid.
It was at around 3:30pm when the chopper carrying Mr Msukuma landed at the stadium amid jubilation, as masters of ceremony Ephraem Kibonde ushered him to the VIP stage. A similar drama ensued when Glory of Christ Church Bishop Josephat Gwajima, who also belonged to Mr Nchemba’s camp, showed up at the rally flanked by his bodyguards.
The bishop once told his followers that the deputy Finance minister was qualified for the country’s highest post.
The crowd was extremely excited when it was the turn of 27 religious leaders to be jointly introduced, prompting Mr Lowassa to give him an opportunity to address the rally.
Bishop Gwajima said Mr Lowassa came to the world to lead Tanzanians in crossing a desert, likening him with Prophet Joshua who had led the Israelis to cross a desert.
“If this truth irks some people, let them swallow lemons,” quipped the Bishop, before he prayed for the former Prime Minister to succeed in ‘the journey of hope’ and pleaded with Tanzanians to rally behind him.
Besides Mr Ngombale-Mwiru, other CCM veterans, who had served the ruling party and the government in various capacities, included Kilumbe Ng’enda, Pancras Ndejembi, Pius Ngeze, Charles Mkeyenge, Bernard Msoma,
Masalu Ngofilo, Poul Lupia, Hemedi Mkali, Col Isaac Mwisongo, Vicky Nsilo Swai, and Salum Abdallah.
Other CCM cadres present were deputy Labour minister Makongoro Mahanga, former cabinet ministers Juma Ngasongwa, Joseph Mungai, Juma Kapuya, Nazir Karamagi and Anna Tibaijuka as well as Juma Mwapachu.
Zanzibar was equally represented by Said Sukwa, Salma Mzee, Teleza Albert, Khadija Jabir, Ally Hassan, and Haji Ally Haji.
Mr Mgana Msindai led 14 regional chairpersons during the rally, including Ramadhan Madabiba from Dar es Salaam, Hamis Mgeja from Shinyanga, and Onesmo ole Nangolo from Arusha.