Dodoma. Three opposition parties were the first yesterday to collect nomination forms for the presidential race as the National Electoral Commission opened the crucial stage towards the October 28 General Election. NEC which has moved its operations to Dodoma’s Njedengwa area, issued the nomination forms to Alliance for African Farmers Party (AAFP), Democratic Party (DP) and National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA).
The nomination forms also cover the respective parties’ running mates and would run towards the end of the month when the final line ups for presidency, MPs and Civic candidates are completed. NEC will issue the MP and civic forms at the district and ward levels.
The electoral body requires that each of the candidates be endorsed by at least 200 members from each of Tanzania’s 10 regions, including two in Zanzibar. The candidates also pay Sh1 million for the forms which include those from the leadership ethics commission as well as a clearance from their own parties.
The first candidate to collect the forms was Seif Maalim Seif of AAFP and his running mate Rashid Rai. They collected the forms at 10.30am and were followed at 11.26am by Dr Philip Fumbo of DP and NRA’s Leopard Mahona who arrived at the NEC offices at 12,17pm. The last two did not show up with their running mates.
NEC Chairman, Retired Judge of the Appeal Court Semistocles Kaijage (Pictured) handed over the forms to the candidates. He told them that the step was only the first in the process to assess whether they were qualified to run for the office that they were eyeing.
Speaking after collecting the forms, Mr Seif said Tanzanians should expect to see a competitive election and exuded confidence that AAFP will perform well. “We are prepared and expect to see a miracle from our party,” he said.
Mr Fumbo of DP said also boasted that his party will surprise rivals in the race. “We are entering the race to win and we will win in daylight like a match stick burns a whole thicket,” he said.
The NRA candidate Mr Mahona challenged NEC to ensure that all aspirants were accorded a level play ground during the campaigns and the General Election itself. He told NEC not to favour individuals due to their parties or any other affiliations.
The electoral body’s executive director, Dr Wilson Mahela, also took the candidates through the requirements for the nomination which will culminate on August 25 this year.
More parties will collect their forms today, according to a timetable released by NEC. The big players were had not been slotted in as they were yet to notify the electoral body. Opposition parties Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo finished the nomination of their respective candidates on Tuesday and yesterday respectively.
In the 2015 elections, NEC rejected the nomination of three candidates out of the 11 who had collected the forms. There are more individuals aspiring for the election in this year’s elections for the top seat.