Dar es Salaam. On June 6, 2015, the ruling CCM party opened its doors for members to seek nomination that would enable them to vie for the Presidency of the United Republic of Tanzania.
About 43 CCM members expressed interest in contesting for the top office of the land, the highest number in CCM’s and general election before and after reintroction of multiparty system.
The aspirants included ministers, retired security officers and even college students.
Among them were four women.
The Lake Zone Administrative Regions led in having the highest number of CCM cadres who came forward to collect nomination forms.
The regions are Mwanza, Geita, Kagera, Mara, Simiyu and Shinyanga.
The cadres were the minister of the day for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Stephen Wassira; an East African Legislative Assembly member, Charles Makongoro Nyerere; a nominated member of Parliament (MP) Prof Sospeter Muhongo (Mara); and the Works minister, Dr John Magufuli (Geita MP).
Others were the Fisheries and Livestock Development minister, Dr Titus Kamani (Simiyu); Tanzania Ambassador to Russia Patrick Chokala; Sengerema MP William Ngeleja; Luhaga Mpina (Mwanza) and the late Chief Justice Francis Nyalali’s son, Peter Nyalali (Kagera).
In the Southern Highlands Zone Regions, there were seven CCM cadres who collected forms to vie for the presidency including Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda; minister of State in the President’s Office (Special Task), Prof Mark Mwandosya; minister for East African Cooperation Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe; Musa Mwapango (Mbeya), retired National Security Director Hassy Kitine; Dr Augustine Mahiga and retired Deputy minister for Finance Monica Mbega (Iringa).
From Northern Zone Regions were the retired Prime Minister Edward Lowassa; retired Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye (Arusha); Constitutional Affairs and Justice minister Dr Asha Rose Migiro; Dr Muzzamil Kalokola, Litha Ngowi, Hellen Elinawinga (Kilimanjaro) and Deputy minister for Communications, Science and Technology, January Makamba (Tanga).
The Central Zone had five CCM cadres including Transport minister Samuel Sitta; Nzega MP Dr Khamis Kigwangallah (Tabora); Natural Resources and Tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu; Deputy minister for Finance Mwigulu Nchemba (Singida) and Dr Mwele Malecela (Dodoma).
Presidential contestants from Zanzibar were Balozi Amina Salum Ali; Vice President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal; Balozi Ali Karume and retired Chief Justice Augustine Ramadhani.
The Southern Zone had produced two cadres of the party, who were Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister Bernard Membe and Home Affairs minister Mathias Chikawe (Lindi).
The Western Zone had only one cadre, who sought the party’s nomination.
He was a farmer known by the name of Lidephonce Bilohe from the Kigoma Administrative Region.
However, there were other cadres, who stepped forward to seek the party’s nomination. These included Amos Siyatemi, Samwel John, Leonce Mulenda, Boniface Ndengo, Maliki Marupu, Veronica Kazimoto, Godwin Mwapongo, Peter Nyalile and Joseph Chaggama Mapenzi.
Out of the 43 aspirants, four did not return their nomination forms - thus leaving 38 aspirants to battle it out among themselves for screening by the veteran ruling party CCM.
Those who withdrew from the race were Dr Kalokola, Hellen Elinawinga, Chalamila and Nyalali.
They faced a number of hurdles including those put in place by CCM’s ethics committee.
On July 11, the CCM Central Committee met to screen the contestants and remained with only five aspirants including Bernard Membe, Dr John Magufuli, Dr Asha Rose Migiro, January Makamba and Amina Salum Ali.
Others were dropped from the racee, including Edward Lowassa.
Three retired presidents and vice presidents of CCM did a big job of saving the party from falling into a crisis after the name of Mr Lowasa was rejected.
Three disqualified members of the party’s CC publicly expressed their dissatisfaction with the removal, which they claimed breached the CCM constitution.
Members of CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC) placed their chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete, in a difficult situation after singing a song, “We have trust in Lowassa”, being the first incident of its kind in high level meetings of the party.
The singing was led by a group of NEC members, who were seated at the back of the Conference Hall.
They included the country’s prominent businessman, Christopher Gachuma; Mara Regional CCM Chairman Christopher Sanya; Former Musoma Urban MP Vedastus Mathayo and another member identified by the name of Joseph Marwa from Marwa Region.
“It has truly never happened before,” said President Kikwete when he arrived at the conference hall and received by the song.
The NEC’s members echoed the president’s statement. Then President Kikwete greeted the NEC members by saying, “Good morning and they responded the same.
CCM’s Secretary General, Abdulrahman Kinana, stoop up and announced that 325 members were required to attend the meeting and instead 274 members were in attendance, equivalent to 87 percent thus saying, “the quorum was full of the members.”
And that’s when President Kikwete unveiled the agendas of the meeting and called upon the members to stop being too emotional.
“It is my hope that this meeting is going to be held well. We need to speak in calmness. Let’s not be too emotional.
“You know, sometimes when you become angry, your arguments do not come out as clearly they should be.
“So, those are my great hopes from you. I wish you a good meeting,” said the President.
One of the meeting’s agendas was to propose befitting members of the party to be nominated to contest the presidency of Zanzibar and that of the United Republic of Tanzania.
A meeting that was held at the noontime of the day started without the presence of Mr Lowassa.
Amani Abeid Karume began to speak, followed by John Malecela, Benjamin Mkapa and lastly Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who advised the members to continue voting because the issue had already been known.
In the meeting, Dr Magufuli spoke for about nine minutes, starting at 11:55pm to 00:04 midnight, and thanked the meeting members including the invited guests.
“I’m asking for your votes because I believe I will be working with you and as well you will be using me because I will be your representative and I promise to protect CCM in winning and leading this country. I will maintain our union.
“CCM has groomed me. So, I promise you that I will not let you down.
“I have worked with President Kikwete and I think I did not let you down. You sent me in the whole period of ten years, and I thought you wanted me talk about the roads that you wanted me to construct.”
Finally, the CCM congress nominated Dr Magufuli to become the party’s presidential flagbearer after collecting 2,104 votes, equivalent to 87.08 percent.
Dr Magufuli’s victory was described by President Kikwete as reflecting the end of groups that emerged in the nomination process of CCM’s presidential contestant.
Balozi Amina Salum Ali held the second position after garnering 253 votes - equivalent to 10.4 percent - and Dr Asha Rose Migiro was the last, having garnered 59 votes, equivalent to 2.4 percent.
In the event, only six votes were declared as having been spoiled.
“Everybody is branded a ‘Jembe’ (hoe),” said President Kikwete when mentioning the merits of Dr Magufuli.
“But this one is more than a hoe. He is a bulldozer ... Magufuli is a bulldozer. Magufuli does not tolerate nonsense.
“He is the kind of person, who likes to see his work is done as he directed.”
CCM had finally obtained its flagbearer - and the remaining task ahead was to face other presidential contestants from the political opposition.
Tomorrow we focus on how the political opposition’s coalition joined the presidential race.