Dar es Salaam. Some people believe that the decision by Chadema to pick Edward Lowassa, who was axed by Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as its presidential candidate, made it easy for the ruling party to win the race.
Others are saying it was the challenge posed by Lowassa which reduced the ruling party’s margins in General Election conducted countrywide on October 25.
There is no denying, however, that Lowassa was a big factor in determining the outcome.
While the spokesperson of the CCM campaign team, January Makamba, thinks Lowassa pushed some voters back to CCM, his colleague the ideology and publicity secretary, Mr Nape Nnauye, says the this year CCM had to dig deeper into its campaign tricks treasure trove to assure itself of victory.
“There is no denying that this election was very competitive. But, as always, we have emerged victorious because we know how to play the game,” said Mr Nape in a recent interview with a local television station.
CCM’s victory can be attributed to two factors. One is the strengths of the ruling party while the other is the weakness shown by the opposition.
Though he has lost the race, Mr Lowassa has set a record. He has garnered more than 6 million votes, which is a record for the opposition.
This notwithstanding, many people view Lowassa’s candidacy and the way he was nominated, as one of the factors that led to his failure.
There are many Chadema members and supporters who were against the decision to nominate Lowassa, whom they regarded as an outsider, and with a tainted image.
Not only did they think that the party had competent members who could have provided a stiff challenge to CCM, they also thought fielding a person that the party had previously accused of corruption would alienate some voters.
“The opposition simplified CCM’s work when they nominated Lowassa to be their presidential candidate. It was easier for CCM to face Lowassa than, say, Dr Willbrod Slaa,” says Mr Makamba.
The CCM presidential candidate, Dr John Magufuli, and his running mate, Samia Suluhu Hassan, made the right decision to campaign by road.
They got the opportunity to hold more rallies in rural areas and meet more voters.
Mr Lowassa, on the other hand, was only able to meet urban voters and the results of the election reflect Chadema’s stratergy of focusing in urban areas.
Dr Magufuli was very clever in swaying opposition supporters. He mastered the art of appealing to their imagination by creating the image of a “friendly adversary”.
In one of the campaign stops in Mbeya city, which is an opposition stronghold, he changed the boos from opposition supporters into cheers and clapping when he told them that he would turn the region into Mbeya for Change (M4C).
The M4C slogan is Chadema’s political programme rolled out some years ago to solidify the party. In fact earlier in his campaigns Dr Magufuli was saying in his rallies that the Chadema’s M4C movement was meant for him and its real meaning was “Magufuli for change”.
This angered Chadema so much that they threatened to take him to court for violating copyright rules.
Dr Magufuli was also fond of acknowledging the opposition’s slogans and gestures during his campaigns.
He did this by declaring that, if elected, he would be the present of all Tanzanians including opposition supporters.
“I know opposition supporters are fond of saying ‘people’s power’ and making the ‘v’ sign using their fingers,” he would say while waving his fingers making the ‘v’ sign in the same manner as the opposition.