1975 polls: Tanu unveils first post- independence manifesto

Tuesday March 24 2020


By William Shao @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu) unveiled an election manifesto for the first time since independence during the 1975 elections campaigns.

The five year blueprint, which would be revised after every five years, detailed the party pledges to the electorate.

Upon the release of the Manifesto the deputy chairperson of the Electoral Commission Pius Msekwa advised parliamentary candidates to promote sections of the Manifesto that relate to the needs of their constituencies. To that end candidates were required to focus on the Manifesto in their pledges to the voters during campaigns. They were directed not to cram the sections of the Manifesto but to explain what they are all about.

On Monday June 22, 1975 the chairperson of the Electoral Commission Erasto Mang’enya announced the date of the elections as October 26.

Mang’enya told reporters at a press conference that voter registration was to start on July 8 till August 7. At least six million voters were expected to register

Media records further show that Mang’enya told reporters the voter register had to be updated because of the re-organisation of constituencies. The constituencies had been re-organised to follow borders of Tanu districts. Also hundreds of thousands of people had been relocated to Ujamaa villages.


Campaigns period for parliamentary polls were extended from two to three weeks to give more time to candidates to sell their policies to the electorate.

The spokesperson of the Electoral Commission, William Maina, said Tanu leaders would start meeting on August 18 to screen aspirants. Maina was also the Clerk of the National Assembly.

Another new feature in the 1975 polls was the creation of national seats based on the 20 regions. These were in addition to constituency MPs and they were to be elected by the constituency MPs from a list presented by the regional party organs after the inauguration of the new Parliament.

The names of candidates for both constituency and regional MPs were made public on August 11. Those who could not survive the nomination process had a single day to file their complaints. On August 4, Tanu secretary general, John Mhaville, announced that all candidates would be given instructions on how to conduct their campaigns. Candidates started submitting nomination forms to Returning officers in the constituencies on August 11.

On the same day it was revealed that the Agriculture minister Joseph Mungai would run unopposed. In a surprising turn of events the minister for Works Job Lusinde removed his name from candidates running for the Dodoma constituency.

Later on it was further revealed that Prime Minister Rashidi Kawawa and a deputy minister Israel (Isael) Elinawinga were also unopposed.

The minister for Economic Planning, Wilbert Chagula, the minister for Capital Development, Adam Sapi Mkwawa and the minister for Finance, David Cleopa Msuya, did not run for elective posts. They were appointed MPs.

All names of candidates were discussed by party meetings at various levels. These include district party secretariats, district party conference, national central committee and the national executive committee.

The executive committee had the last say on who was to run and who was cut.

The names of those who contested regional parliamentary seats that had been introduced for the first time in 1975 were first discussed in district executive committees before being seconded to higher level meetings.

While election process was ongoing the Tanu secretary of Dar es Salaam Region Joseph Rwegasira warned Young Africans Sports Club (Yanga) fans to beware of people who want to use them to spoil the elections. This was on October 1, 1975 a day before the start of election campaigns.

Rwegasira said some of Yanga’s leaders were using a leadership wrangle that was going on at that time within the club for political reasons. He named the publicity secretary of the Club, one Abdul Masoudi as one of the people who was being used without his knowledge. Rwegasira warned that was dangerous.

He added that Tanu fans, who were good Tanu members were being used by some leaders to oppose Tanu without their knowledge.

He said Tanu and its government would not tolerate acts of sabotage under the disguise of sports.

Government officials were told not to travel to villages using official government vehicles because of the fear that they would engage in campaigns.

The ban on vehicles was given by member of Tanu central committee Thomas Mussa, during the Dodoma district’s Tanu secretariat meeting.

During the campaign there emerged various entertainment groups, including traditional dance groups, music bans that participated in the campaigns in Dar es Salaam Region. The decision to mobilise entertainment groups participate in the campaigns was reached during the Tanu Youth League meeting. The meeting was chaired by national Youth League secretary C. Liundi.

It was during the 1975 election process that President Julius Nyerere made it public that had decided to retire and would not run in the 1980 elections. He also advised older party leaders to think of doing the same and let new blood take over. He did not retire in 1980 elections, however, due to the economic crisis that faced the country. He said, instead, that he would retire in 1985. Leaving the country in a dire economic situation was akin to a general walking out of a battle, he noted.

Tomorrow: Read about how the 1975 polls were conducted and on the election results