Dar es Salaam/Mwanza/Musoma. Three more CCM cadres yesterday joined the race to State House when they announced they would seek nomination as the party’s candidate for the Union presidency in the October 25 General Election.
Former Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye, former Energy and Minerals minister Sospeter Muhongo and Livestock and Fisheries minister Titus Kamani all said they had the qualifications and qualities required to lead the nation.
Mr Sumaye, who was prime minister for ten years under Retired President Benjamin Mkapa, announced his candidacy at the plush Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar es Salaam; Dr Kamani unveiled his bid at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall in Mwanza, while Prof Muhongo was in his hometown of Musoma.
Sumaye threatens to quit CCM
Mr Sumaye reiterated that should CCM nominate a “corrupt leader”, he would quit the party, saying he was the best candidate for the job, courtesy of his “clean record” and ten years as prime minister.
“Among those who have already announced their candidacy for president within CCM, I’m the only one who has moral authority when it comes to fighting corruption in this country,” he said.
Mr Sumaye promised zero tolerance in fighting corruption, adding that if nominated and elected, his government would establish a special tribunal to handle corruption cases.
He said none of his rivals had the courage, let alone moral authority, to fight corruption because most of them had failed to do so while serving in the current government.
Mr Sumaye also denied that he amassed wealth through corrupt means as claimed by his opponents a decade ago, adding that he had been living an ordinary life after retiring.
He said he had thoroughly assessed his integrity and concluded that he was the best candidate because of his “clean” track record. “I first became an MP back in 1985…I then became a deputy minister, and later on a minister before I was finally appointed prime minister, a position I held for ten consecutive years,’’ he said.
Asked to respond to allegations that he owned a big chunk of land which was acquired illegally from the State when he was prime minister, Mr Sumaye said acquisition of the land followed all procedures.
“Unlike other leaders who opt to do business, my hobby is investing in land because the majority of our people depend on agriculture for survival. I have therefore been close to people by engaging in agriculture,’’ he said.
Mr Sumaye defended the privatisation of various state-owned corporations during his time in government, saying the policy was introduced in the 1990s by Retired President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, adding that what Mr Mkapa did was to implement a government policy endorsed by the ruling party.
According to Mr Sumaye, decisions to purchase a presidential jet, radar and privatise the National Bank of Commerce were made by the Cabinet, although some individuals used the opportunity to enrich themselves through corruption.
Dr Kamani now eyes State House
Speaking in Mwanza, Dr Kamani said he was seeking to become president and run a lean and efficient government that was responsive to the needs of the people.
He said a bloated and bureaucratic government was among reasons Tanzania had not been able to sustain economic prosperity and take advantage of its abundant natural resources.
Should he be nominated and go ahead to win the presidency, Dr Kanani said, he would ensure that public servants at all levels were efficient and effective in delivering on his promises.
“The government must be a facilitator of our goals and not an obstacle. I will end the bureaucracy you see in public offices. RC’s, DC’s should be out in the farms helping farmers, while our experts must be left to do their job and be held responsible for any shortcomings,” he said adding, “I hate this idea of meetings…there are things that stall and yet they don’t even need a meeting. My government will facilitate investment and empower our local business community through friendly policies,” he said. Dr Kamani added that his government would streamline public expenditure and use taxpayers’ money in areas that were productive.
“I will review the entire system of public expenditure and clamp down hard on unnecessary wastage. Tanzania must not depend on donors or heavy borrowing.
“Corruption is one of the obstacles that hinder public service delivery. I hate to see public officials dip their hands in the cookie jar, leading to social unrest as the people become impatient,” said Dr Kamani, who was accompanied by CCM officials from Mwanza and Katavi regions. They included Kahama MP James Lembeli, who read out the minister’s profile.
Dr Kamani, who is a first-term MP elected in 2010, said he was confident his record and success in the short time he had been in government was a sign he could lead the country to a better future. “I have made significant changes at the ministry and won a continental award as leader who has brought positive change in public sector development. This is what I want to do at the national level.
“I’m aware of the fact that the job I’m seeking is tough and demanding, but collective responsibility, integrity and my track record will put me on the right footing,” said Dr Kamani, who is campaigning on the “Let Us Protect Our Resources” slogan.
He said Tanzania was endowed with abundant resources that could propel it into the league of middle-income economies by 2025.
The aspirant listed his priorities as agriculture, unemployment, land use and planning, minerals exploitation, industrialisation and science and technology.
“My opponents have prioritised others sectors, but my view is that we won’t get far without bringing a revolution in agriculture. I only need to empower farmers and livestock keepers to see how that could impact the lives of many in a short while,” he said as his supporters applauded.
Dr Kamani said agriculture should be made attractive and profitable to pull in unemployed youth.
Agri-business opportunities would come along with his vision for a sector that is technologically driven in the shortest time possible, he added.
“Manufacturing will be key in my government because that way our economy can become self-sustaining in rural areas.”
Muhongo: I’m clean
Prof Muhongo maintained yesterday that he was clean, saying his name did not feature in the special report on the escrow account scam compiled by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), and which was tabled in Parliament last November.
He added that there was no need for him to come clean because he was not among those who received cash from former Independent Power Tanzania Limited shareholder James Rugemalira.
“I wasn’t mentioned in the CAG’s report, my name didn’t appear in the list of the beneficiaries of the escrow monies, and I wasn’t quizzed by the Leadership Ethics Commission,” he said at the Musoma campus of the Open University of Tanzania.
Prof Muhongo added that his record at the helm of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals spoke for itself.
However, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found that Prof Muhongo lied to Parliament and the nation when he said the money Tanesco deposited in the escrow account was not public funds.
Asking his fellow CCM cadres to support his bid to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete, Prof Muhongo, who will turn 61 next week, said his professional and leadership records were “exemplary” and his honesty and accountability “unquestionable”.
“I have a vision…I know where this country is supposed to be in ten years and how to get there. I need your backing so that I can lead this country at this critical time to transform our economy. I can only achieve this through your support.
“I can’t promise more schools, salary raises and better health care if the performance of our economy doesn’t improve to the desired levels,” he said.
According to Prof Muhongo, the current growth of seven per cent was nothing to shout about. He said for Tanzania to graduate to a middle-income country, the economy should grow at between 10 to 15 per cent annually for two decades, adding that his government would serve as a strong foundation for that to happen.
Delivering a speech that was replete with statistics, Prof Muhongo said it was only through data that Tanzania could assess its performance against other countries. He used China, India, Brazil and neighbouring Kenya to analyse Tanzania’s performance in literacy, provision of health services, water and sanitation.
“We are not doing well, and numbers don’t lie. You need someone who can work on all these challenges, and you don’t have to look elsewhere. I’m right here in front you...a world-class scholar,” he said.
Prof Muhongo, who is a respected geologist, said his government would focus on natural resources for resource mobilisation. He said the country had so far exploited only 10 per cent of its mineral deposits, and the discovery and exploitation of vast deposits of natural gas guaranteed Tanzania a bright future.
He said with the growing economy, his government would invest heavily in education, infrastructure development and industries and stimulate local investment. “Some people are saying I hate local investors…that’s not true. What I despise are crooks and tax evaders. I know the role of local investors is vital in the economic development of any country,” he said.
Reported by Tom Mosoba, Katare Mbashiru and Athuman Mtulya