Dar es Salaam. The Civic United Front (CUF) chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, could be on the ballot paper again this year as he tries his luck for the Union Presidency for the fifth time.
Prof Lipumba - who has been CUF chairman since 1995 - first contested the presidency in 1995 when he garnered a measly 6.43 percent of the votes, coming third in an election that saw former President Benjamin Mkapa emerging victorious.
In 2000, he came second to Mr Mkapa after managing 16.26 percent of the vote.
In 2005, he was once again trounced by CCM’s Jakaya Kikwete, securing only 11.68 percent of the vote. In 2010, when Mr Kikwete was seeking a second term in office, Prof Lipumba came third, with 8.3 percent of the vote.
With political wrangles in his party, following a decision by the opposition to field Edward Lowassa as their joint candidate, Prof Lipumba did not contest in 2015.
But yesterday, his party’s youth wing (JuviCUF) in Dar es Salaam region, picked up the forms on behalf of Prof Lipumba and handed them over to him. The youths argued that their chairman was the only candidate who would bring change in the country.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, JuviCUF maintained that Prof Lipumba presented the most formidable opposition candidate to defeat the ruling party’s President John Magufuli in the October 28 polls.
“After looking at and analyzing the members who are seeking consent to be nominated to run for presidency through our party, we found that without Prof Lipumba, Tanzanians will not get the happiness they deserve…” said Salim Muslim, Juvicuf’s secretary in Ilala District.
“Even in other opposition parties we haven’t seen anyone who can bring about change in development apart from Lipumba who is the only one capable of defeating President Magufuli,” claimed Mr Muslim.
Like other cadre in the opposition, if nominated out of the other two candidates (Chifu Lutayosa Yemba and Juma Magogo) who had until yesterday picked up the party’s (Cuf) forms, analysts say Lipumba will have to draw a well of political acumen to overcome ruling party’s frontrunner John Magufuli in the upcoming general election.
Receiving the forms, Prof Lipumba appreciated the youth’s initiative, saying if they were 40 years old he would let them participate in the process.
“The cash flow has been difficult with businesses closing, the number of firms is declining year after year…the youth asked me to take the forms, I won’t let you down for I know what you (the youth) have been passing through,” he said.
He argued that in his government, all citizens will be involved in the governance to solve the challenges facing them. “We will make sure a new constitution is available because the building of democracy is a tool for development. Another agenda will be to ensure happiness prevails for Tanzanians,” Prof Lipumba reiterated.