What you need to know:
- Lema defeated CCM by winning a landslide against former cabinet minister Batilda Burian in 2010 and later defeated by an even wider margin Philemon Mollel in 2015. He insisted recently he would still survive a strong CCM wave in this year’s polls which has seen the ruling party determined to dislodge him.
Arusha. Arusha, an opposition stronghold since the 1990s, was in green and yellow colours yesterday as hundreds of people turned up at the campaign rally to drum up support for the re-election of President John Magufuli for a second term.
The ruling party CCM put up a show that suggested they should not be viewed as minnows in the northern zone which has tended to side and vote for the opposition.
Other than pushing for his reelection, President Magufuli campaigned for Mrisho Gambo, the ex-Arusha regional commissioner who is CCM’s candidate to battle it out with Godbless Lema who has been Arusha MP for the last ten years on a Chadema ticket. The duel between the two is expected to be like never experienced before as each of the parties move to stump its authority.
Lema defeated CCM by winning a landslide against former cabinet minister Batilda Burian in 2010 and later defeated by an even wider margin Philemon Mollel in 2015. He insisted recently he would still survive a strong CCM wave in this year’s polls which has seen the ruling party determined to dislodge him.
President Magufuli, who is hopeful for his second and final five year term, focused on how CCM can recapture the Arusha seat in his speech in which he also promised a bag of goodies to the people of Arusha.
Arusha, he said, was not only the country’s diplomatic city being the headquarters of the East African Community (EAC) and allied organizations. It was also Tanzania’s important tourism hub, a multi-million dollar sector estimated to have raked in $2.5 billion for the economy last year.
If it were not for the outbreak of Covid-19, the global pandemic, Tanzania had projected to receive a record two million tourists this year.
President Magufuli said the short term projection was to raise the number of foreign visitors to five million and hence boost the economy.
CCM carrot is on completed infrastructure projects or those under implementation. It was the same line that ex-premier Edward Lowassa and former CCM secretary general Abdulrahman Kinana used to root support for Dr Magufuli. Lowassa was Magufuli’s rival in 2015 before he rejoined the ruling party.
Mr Kinana said: “Dr Magufuli has first implemented the party manifesto in full and second, he delivered own promises during 2015 campaign. He also delivered promises during his visits as president and now he has new good promises in the new manifesto.”
Mr Lowassa hailed Dr Magufuli’s approach to Covid-19 response which he said maintained the country’s peace. “Today there are countries like Nigeria which are going through violence but we are enjoying peace in Tanzania. Let’s reward him through our votes,” said Mr Lowassa.
In his promises, Dr Magufuli said he would prioritise water supply, electricity connection in some 136 villages and shortage of health workers.
He said the Sh520 billion water supply project under implementation would end water problems by providing 160 million litres to make Arusha’s combined supply of 200 million litres against the demand of 100 million litres.
Dr Magufuli promised to accelerate the growth of Arusha city and make it “California of Tanzania” by improving social services and infrastructure. “And that is not impossible for me. I want a new Arusha in the coming five years,” he said at Sheikh Amri Abeid stadium.
Some of the services he pledged to improve include health which he said will add staff and build a grade-one diagnostic centre in the city.
In agriculture, Dr Magufuli said he will continue facilitating farmers and livestock keepers with inputs through grants. He said the leather processing factory launched on Thursday in Arusha will demand raw materials from the farmers and provide market for hides.
Dr Magufuli also challenged the farmers to produce enough wheat locally and do away with the importation. According to him, Tanzania imports about 800,000 tonnes of wheat worth Sh1.3 trillion every year – an opportunity to increase production.
He also said the planned cargo plane in the CCM manifesto will boost the horticulture industry which is currently worth about $780 million.