Dar es Salaam. Former Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Membe yesterday officially joined the opposition, setting his sights on the presidency in the forthcoming October general election.
During a colorful event in Dar es Salaam, Mr Membe was formally welcomed by multitudes into the ACT-Wazalendo party, which he termed as his new home.
Mr Membe was ousted from CCM early this year for allegedly violating the party’s rules. However, speaking to members of ACT-Wazalendo yesterday, he insisted that he was expelled because of expressing his intention to run for the presidency under the ruling party, challenging the incumbent President John Magufuli.
He told the ACT-Wazalendo members who gathered to officially receive him that although he had joined the party as a regular member, he was ready to serve at any level.
An experienced diplomat, Mr Membe, assured the party members that there was no turning back, calling upon Tanzanian opposition parties to unite in their efforts to take on CCM in the forthcoming elections.
On the possibility of forming a coalition with other opposition parties, ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe made it clear during the event that discussions with other political parties were still ongoing in a bid to find a resolution to support one candidate in the 2020 elections.
There was huge applause for Mr Membe as he addressed the members. He heaped praise on ACT-Wazalendo, saying it was the fastest growing opposition party.
“What attracted me to the ACT-Wazalendo party was the party’s constitution and its ideology of wanting to see change in the country’s governance.”
“I have joined this party to work with its leaders and members in persuading the people to bring about real change in the country,” he said, adding that if given the green light to run for the presidency via the ACT-Wazalendo ticket, he would accept, promising to steer the country to greater heights.
Citing examples, he said his new party stood firm to the extent of drawing his attention. He recalled scenarios of disappearances of people, mentioning Chadema party cadre Ben Sanane, who disappeared, Mr Azory Gwanda (journalist), who went missing and highlighted issues to do with human rights violation in Tanzania, saying “These are some of the reasons why I chose ACT-Wazalendo.”
Mr Membe said if the opposition parties come together for the October General Election, the doors to the State House would be open.
“For all parties, big and small, we need to emulate our Malawian counterparts (opposition parties united to win the election), let us refrain from selfishness,” he said.