How CCM finally picked Mkapa to run for presidency in 1995

Thursday May 14 2020


By William Shao @TheCitizenTZ

Dar es Salaam. The Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu) has been picking its presidential candidates since the 1965 general election.

However, from 1995 the party, which changed to Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in 1977, adopted another method of picking its presidential aspirants, who have to submit their names for screening.

The first member of the party to announce his intention of contesting the position of president of Tanzania was deputy minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Mr Njelu Kasaka, on April 2, 1995. Mr Kasaka was also the Chunya Constituency lawmaker.

Speaking to reporters at the Kilimanjaro Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Mr Kasaka said he arrived at the decision because the Constitution of their CCM party allowed its every member to contest for any leadership position from the grassroots to presidency in the country.

Another CCM member to announce to vie for presidency was the Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament, Mr Pius Msekwa, on April 3, 1995 at the Kilimanjaro Hotel.

“Today, I have declared to vie for the presidency. However, if Mwalimu (Julius Nyerere) raises his voice, I will withdraw my name because you cannot compete with the Elder of Butiama,” said Mr Msekwa.


On May 6, the CCM’s Youth Wing proposed the names of Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Edward Lowassa, CCM Secretary General Lawrence Gama and Mark Bomani to vie for the position of president of the United Republic of Tanzania while Dr Salmin Amour was proposed to vie for Zanzibar’s presidency.

The following day, on May 7, former minister for Science. Technology and Higher Education Benjamin Mkapa joined the bandwagon of aspirants for the position of president of the United Republic of Tanzania on the CCM ticket.

Mr Mkapa announced that he was ready to contest the presidency against the hopefuls suggested by the CCM’s youth wing.

Announcing his decision before reporters at the building of his ministry, Mr Mkapa said he would pick forms to vie for the presidential nomination on his CCM party ticket.

When making the announcement, Mr Mkapa, who was the third person to do so, was escorted by Bunda MP Joseph Warioba, National MP Jenerali Ulimwengu and Balozi Frednand Ruhinda.

On May 12, former minister of State in the President’s Office (Planning), Mr Horace Kolimba, was the fourth member of CCM to announce to vie for the presidency when he addressed a public meeting at Kwembe Village, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, by saying that, if elected president, his main task would be to restore confidence in the hearts of all Tanzanians.

Responding to a question over an accusation levelled against him by Mwalimu Nyerere that he was unfit to become a leader, Mr Kolimba said: “Mwalimu Nyerere is our leader, who has the right to fault us and our party as well... there is no place, where Mwalimu Nyerere has uttered that I should not contest the presidency ... Mwalimu is a person who values justice,... with the capability of weighing up things. So, he will weigh up to see if I’m fit for the presidency.”

On May 15, another member of CCM, who was the chairman of the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission, Judge Mark Bomani, announced his intention of vying for the position of president, whereby he said: “Without a good leadership, it means all development efforts in the country will end up in vain.”

All the presidential contestants were supposed to pick forms from May 15 to June 15, 1995 and were each required to deposit a Sh100,000 bond with 250 trustees from 10 regions of Tanzania and must have their active membership cards.

“This time around we are going to have a new procedure, whereby members of the party will be allowed to contest the presidency so that a befitting leader can be obtained,” said the party’s secretary general, Mr Gama.

Bunda MP Joseph Warioba also announced to vie for the presidency on May 17 while at his Oysterbay home in Dar es Salaam, where he told reporters, “the citizens should look at my record.”

On June 12, minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Edward Lowassa and Finance minister Jakaya Kikwete also announced to contest the top seat.

While at Mwalimu Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam from Dodoma, where they had gone to collect forms, Mr Kikwete and Mr Lowassa said they were capable of challenging NCCR-Mageuzi chairman Augustine Mrema.

“We have delayed to collect forms because of pressure exerted upon us from different people including the youth,” said Mr Kikwete.

Thereafter, former deputy chairman of CCM in Tanzania Mainland John Malecela also announced to contest the presidency.

However, on June 24, 1995 Mr Malecela announced to back out of the presidential race at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC)’s meeting held in Dodoma Region.

Mr Malecela decided to withdraw from the presidential race as a way of meeting the recommendations of the NEC that required him to do so and instead he should concentrate on strengthening the party.

Dr Salmin Amour, who was among the interviewed presidential hopefuls, was picked to contest the position of president of Zanzibar by the NEC.

Judge Bomani was also removed from the presidential race because he held the position of a judge, which was contrary to the constitution.

When required to defend himself, Mr Bomani said he had never been a judge, but had been able to decide cases at the High Court on special requests.

Mwalimu Nyerere, who was at the NEC meeting, concurred with the explanation of Judge Bomani.

However, Anna Abdallah brought up an argument, querying the reasons that made Judge Bomani to vie for the presidency on the CCM ticket while the laws stipulate that members of the NEC are not supposed to be members of any political party.

However, only six names of presidential contestants were voted for by the NEC meeting on the eve of June 25.

They were Cleopa Msuya, who was followed by Benjamin Mkapa, Jakaya Kikwete, Joseph Warioba, Pius Msekwa and Mark Bomani.

Out of them, Mr Msuya, Mr Mkapa and Mr Kikwete were chosen to remain in the presidential race. Their names were presented at the party’s congress on July 22 in Dodoma Region to obtain one name of the party’s flag bearer.

Those whose names were removed were Edward Lowassa, Kighoma Malima, Njelu Kasaka, Frederick Rutakyamirwa, Tuntemeke Sanga, Aggrey Mwasaguti, Horace Kolimba and Rose Lugendo.

However, there was a fierce debate when the name of Lowassa was removed from the presidential race, whereby Mwalimu Nyerere said there was no option, but to remove it.

On July 3, Mwalimu Nyerere addressed a press conference at his Msasani home in Dar es Salaam, where he also talked about the issue of Lowassa and said: “Other presidential contestants lacked the required merits as there was no hidden agenda... if a person is incapable, it is obvious that he will do nothing. If you love his face, you can go and drink cups of tea with him, but not to give him the presidency.”

On July 22, Mr Mkapa was picked to run for the presidency of Tanzania by the CCM congress in which voting had to be repeated twice.

However, Mr Mkapa emerged the winner after getting 689 votes out of 1,331 that were cast while his closet opponent, Mr Kikwete, collected 639 votes. At least six votes were spoiled.

In the first round of voting, Mr Kikwete scooped 534 votes out of 1,330 that were cast, followed by Mr Mkapa who garnered 459 votes and Mr Msuya collected 336 votes. One vote was spoiled.

In tomorrow’s edition we are going to focus on how John Pombe Magufuli emerged in Tanzania’s politics.