Even though Lowassa was a late comer after defecting from the ruling party CCM, he was quickly embraced by the opposition - and went on to give his former compatriots in CCM a hell of a time on the campaign trail
Dar es Salaam. The 2015 General Election result for the presidency was the closest ever fought race since the first multi-party election in the country in 1995 following re-introduction of political party pluralism.
It was the election cycle in which the ruling party’s candidate won with the lowest margin – at 58.4 percent. It was also the first time that an opposition candidate garnered the highest ever tally – at 39.9 percent.
CCM’s candidate who would become President John Magufuli garnered 8.8 million votes while his competitor from Chadema, but who ran on an opposition coalition candidate - former premier Edward Lowassa, got 6.1 million votes.
The election was a competitive one, drawing huge campaign rallies as the two wooed their respective constituencies. Even though Lowassa was a late comer after defecting from the ruling party, he was quickly embraced by the opposition and went on to give his former compatriots in CCM a hell of a time on the campaign trail.
For CCM, the party did not also lack its own point of traction. Its candidate John Magufuli was the least expected to win the ruling party’s ticket and his candidacy was basically as a result of a fallout of the bigwigs in CCM who were torn between Lowassa and former foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe who was the apparent liking of then President Jakaya Kikwete.
Ironically, the 2015 rivalry will mirror in this year’s General Election, with Magufuli fighting for re-election while Membe who has since also defected to the opposition will challenge for the top seat on an ACT-Wazalendo ticket.
Mr Lowassa will not be on the ballot but he will be backing Magufuli’s campaign after rejoining the ruling party. For Chadema, its candidate is the firebrand politician, Mr Tundu Antipas Lissu, who will be taking his first stab at the presidency.
It will thus remain to be seen how the results pan out come October 28 this year when, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), some 29 million-plus Tanzanians go to the polls to make their voices heard.
Just like in 2015, the competition is likely to remain between CCM and Chadema candidates, but ACT-Wazalendo’s Membe and his compatriot running for the same position in Zanzibar on the same party, Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad are looking to make a statement too.
Mr Hamad and his former Civic United Front (CUF) brigade all trooped to ACT-Wazalendo after a bitter fallout with Prof Ibrahim Lipumba who was left running a seemingly depleted party and is its presidential candidate for the 2020 elections.
The other remaining parties that took part in the 2015 duel were - UPDP, Chauma, TLP, ADC, NRA and ACT – Wazalendo who shared the remaining spoils of a mere 238,078 votes or only 2 percent of the total votes cast.
2015 winners and losers
Out of 25 regions in the Tanzania mainland, CCM led in 22 regions while the three regions that included Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Arusha were taken by Chadema.
Statistics indicate that CCM led in the three regions while Chadema won two – southern and northern Pemba. This meant that CCM won in a total of 25 regions while Chadema won in five regions.
Despite the fact that CCM did not win in Dar es Salaam, it still won the party’s highest tally from this region where it got 728,711 votes compared to the others.
According to the results announced by NEC, the ruling party also got more than half a million votes in Mwanza, Mbeya, and Dodoma. It got slightly more than 500,000 votes in Morogoro region as well.
CCM also got more than 300,000 votes in Kagera, Tabora, Geita, Mara, Shinyanga, Ruvuma, Simiyu, Kigoma and Mtwara.
Chadema got more votes in Dar es Salaam (834,759 votes). This was the highest number of votes any single presidential candidate could garner in a single region.
The regions that Chadema got more than 500,000 votes included Mbeya, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and Morogoro. In Kagera, Chadema garnered more than 300,000.
ACT – Wazalendo party got 18,838 in Kigoma but did not exceed 10,000 votes in any other region countrywide. Other parties performed dismally with none exceeding ten thousand per region – ADC managed 6065 in Singida and Chauma managed a paltry 4615 in Dar es Salaam.
Rise and fall of parties
CCM did poorly in Katavi (132,135 votes), Rukwa and Njombe. The ruling party managed less than 200,000 in five regions in the isles (184,295 votes).
Chadema also did not perform so well in Katavi (47,278 votes) and Njombe Region (82,289) while in the isles of Zanzibar Chadema harvested 203,701. In other regions Chadema managed at least 100,000 votes in each.
Other parties did not get 100,000 of the votes cast. Indeed, some parties did not even get 100 in some regions.
For example in Katavi TLP managed 47 votes only, UPDP (40) and NRA (59). UPDP did not get 100 in Njombe and Manyara regions. NRA managed to get 86 votes in Njombe.
Leading in constituencies
Out of 259 listed constituencies, CCM managed to take 80 percent - 206 seats - while Chadema got 53. The ruling party CCM had more votes in Dodoma (Dodoma Mjini: 110,634) and Dar es Salaam (Temeke: 106,612). The party also made a kill in Mwanza – Nyamagana, Dar es Salaam – Segerea, Mwanza – Ilemela, Dar es Salaam – Mbagala, Dar es Salaam – Ukonga, Simiyu – Bariadi, Morogoro - Morogoro Mjini, Dar es Salaam – Kawe, Geita – Chato and Dodoma – Kongwa.
The CCM candidate harvested 50,000 and 80,000 in 40 constituencies. As regards Chadema, most votes came from Arusha - Arusha Mjini (150,786), Dar es Salaam – Temeke (124,276), Dar es Salaam – Segerea (119,356) and Arusha - Arumeru West (105,720).
The party also got more than 80, 000 in Mbeya region - Mbeya Mjini, Dar es Salaam – Mbagala, Dar es Salaam – Ukonga, Dar es Salaam – Kawe, Arusha - Arumeru East and Dar es Salaam – Kinondoni.
The Chadema candidate also got 50,000 and 80,000 in 11 constituencies. ACT-Wazalendo managed to get most of their votes in Kigoma - Kigoma Mjini (5,967) and more than 1,000 in eight other constituencies, five out them in Kigoma Region. ACT-Wazalendo did not get more than 1,000 votes in the other 250 constituencies.
ADC candidate got 4,950 in Iramba West in Singida with more than 1,000 in two more constituencies. The party did not get more than 1,000 votes in 256 constituencies. Chauma collected 1,154 votes in Moshi Mjini – Kilimanjaro. In all other constituencies, the party did not manage beyond 1,000 votes.
NRA, TLP and UPDP did not get more than 300 votes in any constituency.