Death of Chadema's running mate pushes back 2005 Polls

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Jumbe passed away hardly four days before the voting day, changing completely Tanzania’s electoral historyBy

Dar es Salaam. In 2005 the General Election was planned to be held on October 30. However, it was pushed back after the running mate of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) party, Mr Jumbe Rajab Jumbe, died on October 26, 2005.Jumbe died hardly four days before the voting day, changing completely Tanzania’s electoral history.

Following Mr Jumbe’s death, President Benjamin Mkapa, who was supposed to end his tenure of office early November, had to hold onto power until December of that year.

After a marathon-meeting of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on October 27 at its offices located in Ghana Street, Dar es Salaam, NEC chairman Judge Lewis Makame told reporters that the elections, which were to be held on October 30, had been postponed to December 18 in the same year.

Judge Makame added that in a period towards the general election, presidential campaigns would be suspended to give room to Chadema to find its new presidential running mate.

Chadema was given 21 days to provide the name of a per-son to stand in place of the fallen Jumbe for nomination on November 18 and presidential campaigns that were set to be launched from November 19 to December 17 The NEC decision was made due to the National Elections Act no.1 of 1985 section 35 A 1 (b) that stipulated that, “Any time after nomination at 4pm if a presidential contestant or a running mate died: NEC would immediately, through an advert in the Government Gazzette, announce another day of nomination in not less than 21 days.

This was done to precisely give room to the bereaved party to pick another presidential contestant or running mate as other election procedures would start anew and there would not be another nomination of presidential contestants or running mates from other parties if they were there.”

The Act’s subsection 2 stipulated: “After the declaration of a new day of the nomination of presidential contest-ants through this subsection, NEC will allocate another day of polls to elect president and the relevant procedures will be followed anew, except that there will be no need of picking new presidential contestants if they will be there.”

However, Zanzibar’s polls were held as planned. If the General Election of the United Republic were not postponed, it would be the first time for the polls on Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar to be held on the same day.

According to Chadema’s deputy sec-retary general, Mr Shaibu Akwilombe, Jumbe died at 9:45pm at the Hindu Man-dal Hospital in Dar es Salaam, where he was being treated.

Mr Akwilombe said the late Jumbe started to feel unwell on September 26 in the same year when he was campaigning for his party in upcounty regions.

He said Jumbe, who was being troubled by a heart disease, was, however, discharged from the hospital after feeling well. Nonetheless, he said, his condition deteriorated on October 1 and was rushed back to hospital, where he was readmit-ted until his death. Jumbe, according to Akwilombe, was laid to rest on October 27 at 4.00pm at the Tandika-Kubwa Cemetery in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region.

Despite Jumbe’s death, Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Senior Information Officer Idrisa Jecha said Zanzibar’s polls would be held as planned.

Mr Jecha explained that Zanzibar’s polls were not related in anyway to the General Election of the United Republic.

He was quoted as saying: “NEC has decided to suspend the polls of the United Republic because there is a reason that affects them ... We at ZEC cannot halt the polls just because NEC has done so. We will run the polls in Zanzibar because there is no reason of postponing them.”

Zanzibar’s polls were held on October 30 as planned and two days later on November 1, ZEC declared Abeid Karume as the winner of the presidential election.

ZEC chairman Masauni Yusuf Masauni was the one who declared Karume the winner after collecting 239,832 votes and was closely followed by his opponent, Seif Shariff Hamad of CUF, who garnered 207,773 votes.

Karume, who got 53.2 percent of all votes cast, was declared president of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government for another term of five years. For his part, Seif Shariff Hamad scored 46.1 percent of all valid votes cast hence making a record of being defeated three times consecutively in the presidential race.

By believing that CUF’s presidential contestant would have emerged victorious on November 1, the opposition party announced not to recognize the results of the presidential election declared by NEC.

CUF Chairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba and Seif Shariff Hamad met with reporters at the Masons Hotel in Zanzibar and said despite some flaws detected in the polls, statistics collected from their poll agents showed that the party’s presidential contestant had won the polls with a difference of a few votes.

“We have statistics, but for this time we cannot print anything because by doing so would be contrary to our election regulations,” said Prof Lipumba.

Despite CUF announcing not to recognise the results of the polls, Amani Abeid Karume was sworn-in as president-elect of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government for another five-year presidential term.

His swearing-in ceremony took place at the Hall of the House of Representatives in Zanzibar Town.

On Friday, November 11, CUF’s 19 members of the House of Representatives for the first time boycotted to enter the august House and listen to a speech by President Karume.

The opposition CUF members made the decision as the implementation of their party not to recognise the results of the polls in Zanzibar.

As Karume was sworn-in in Zanzibar, in Dar es Salam NEC changed the date of the polls on the mainland that were held on December 14 instead of October 30 following the death of Chadema’s running mate.

“After NEC announced the new date of the polls, there have been different views that call for bringing forward that date so that the General Election could be held much earlier...

This information means the earlier announced date set on December 18, 2005 by NEC for the polls has now been cancelled,” said Judge Makame.

Speaking about the new decision, Judge Makame explained that NEC, after thinking critically, saw it impossible to reduce 21 days that were lawful set to enable Chadema to pick another running mate. On November 13, Chadema picked Anna Valerian Komu, 55, to fill the position of a running mate following the death of Jumbe.

There were 48, 760 polling stations her name was approved by the party’s Central Committee meeting held at Court Yard Hotel in the City of Dar es Salaam under the chairmanship of Free-man Mbowe, who was also contesting Tanzania’s presidency.

In the next edition, we are going to focus on how the December 14 polls were held and winners obtained.