Membe to face Magufuli in October polls as ACT presidential candidate

Mr Bernard Membe (left) and Mr Seif Shariff Hamad congratulate one another after the ACT-Wazalendo congress formally endorsed them as the Union and Zanzibar presidential candidates, respectively, in Dar es Salaam yesterday. PHOTOS | Erick Boniphace

What you need to know:

  • The opposition party’s congress formally endorses Membe and Seif to vie for the Union and Zanzibar presidencies, respectively, in this year’s General Election

Dar es Salaam. ACT-Wazalendo general congress yesterday endorsed former Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Membe and national Chairman Seif Shariff Hamad as the party’s presidential candidates for the United Republic and Zanzibar ahead of the October general elections.

The opposition party also approved its 2020-2015 election manifesto for both the Mainland and Zanzibar.

Announcing the results, party’s election committee chairman Joram Bashange said 428 general congress members attended the meeting and that 420 members voted for both candidates.

“Mr Membe collected 410 votes equivalent to 97.61 percent while Mr Hamad garnered 419 votes equaling 99.76 percent. I therefore, declare Mr Membe, party’s United Republic candidate Mr Hamad presidential candidate for Zanzibar,” he said.

He said Mr Membe was rejected by 10 votes equivalent to 2.39 percent and that one vote was casted against the Zanzibar’s veteran politician, Mr Hamad.

In his votes of thanks, Mr Hamad said he believed that they were going to emerge victorious in the October 28, 2020 General Election.

“Whether elections will be free and fair as pledged by the President (Magufuli) or not we are going to win the October polls and provide Tanzanians with what they missed for the last 28 years of the multiparty democracy,” he said.

Addressing the General Congress, party leader Zitto Kabwe said ACT_Wazalend would reform provision of education loans for higher learning institutions students, economy and country’s agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

He said ACT-Wazalendo government would provide relief to higher learning institution students who are currently overwhelmed by loans provided through the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB).

“We will take responsibility for all debts and provide higher learning education free of tuition fees to students admitted in the universities and technical colleges,” he said, adding.

“Students admitted in the Vocational Education and Training Authority (Veta) colleges will study for free in order to provide them with technical expertise that will support their lives.”

These reforms will enable higher learning institutions to produce graduates according to demands of the labour market, innovative and able to employ themselves.

Mr Kabwe who doubles as outgoing Kigoma Urban lawmaker said his party intended to build an inclusive economy, basing on people instead of properties and that provided benefit to the majority instead of the minority.

He said the anticipated economic liberations will significantly change the country’s agricultural, livestock keeping and fisheries sectors.

“Citizens should therefore choose between a party and a candidate that turned them to an extreme poverty in the last five years through incidents of burning their fishing nets and relocating them away from potential grazing areas and a party or candidate that will invest to make strong cooperative that will protect the rights of farmers, herders and fishermen in improving their activities,” he said.

He said the government to be formed by his party would promote prosperity of the informal sector especially businesses undertaken by the women and the youth.

According to him, taxation and business formalization systems would aim at increasing efficiency and promote businesses, noting that scientific and technological studies would facilitate promotion of an inclusive economy.

“Experts in different professions will be given conducive environments for them to provide assistance in promoting the country’s economy and improve the lives of individual citizens,” he said.

Mr Kabwe said ACT-Wazalendo government will understand and respect contribution of the private sector in the country’s development, noting that the business community should choose between a party or candidate arbitrarily revoke legal contracts in just overnight or the one who will respect contracts, payments and resolve contract disputes under legal procedures.

According to him, businessmen should also choose between a party or candidate that collects tax at gunpoint and those who are respectful to laws and collect tax according to laws.

“They should choose between a party or candidate who could enter the businessman’s bank account and grab some money and a political party or candidate who respects the people’s rights to wealth,” he said.

Mr Kabwe said ACT-Wazalendo government will provide better health services to all citizens instead emphasizing in construction of facilities.

He said expectant mothers should choose between a party or candidate whose government charges them for health services provided or a party or candidate that would ensure all Tanzanians are covered with health insurance in order to avoid fear and panic during disasters and sickness.

“Our government will ensure there is availability and supply of clean and safe water to all citizens. Through this year’s general election people are supposed to choose between increased poverty because of serving water bills or assuring them with clean and safe water through strategic implementation of water projects across the country by making better use of development funds,” he said.

He said the Zanzibaris are supposed to choose between the party and a candidate who will make Zanzibar inferior in terms of development and a party or candidate who will make Zanzibar use its constitutional powers to make structural changes on the union.

Furthermore, he said his party will revisit the country’s diplomatic relations especially with its neighbours; ensure there is justice to the women, children, the vulnerable and the marginalized.

According to him, the ACT-Wazalendo will be mobilized to work hard and later enjoy the outcome of hardworking #KaziNaBata.

“Our government will formulate and promote policies, laws, regulations and guidance that encourage the youth to be the country’s development stimulus because over 80 percent of the population comprises the youth with over 35 years,” he said. Regarding cooperation, he said their belief was that cooperation with other political parties would easily enable them to remove CCM as compared to when elections would be approached individually.

The party is doing everything in its capacity to ensure cooperation with Chadema becomes a success, saying CCM could easily be removed under collaboration of serious and strong political parties.

Opening the meeting party’s chairman Seif Shariff Hamad said Tanzanians wanted changes, directing members of the general congress to provide the public with appropriate candidates.

“Citizens should be provided with the best candidates who will improve people’s wellbeing and after winning this year’s general elections. Those thinking that they will remain in power forever should know that their days are numbered,” he said.

He promised to concede defeat if the Zanzibar elections would be free, fair and transparent, warning that they shouldn’t repeat past mistakes because citizens in the Isles have determined to protect decisions in this year’s elections.

Party’s secretary general Ado Shaibu said apart from endorsing presidential candidates for the United Republic and Zanzibar, the congress attended by 428 members out of 562 would endorse the party’s election manifesto for the mainland and Zanzibar.

For his part, Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu assured ACT-Wazalendo members that cooperation would be possible, however he observed that care should be taken against traps associated with the cooperation context.

“Mr Hamad (Seif Sharrif) is an institution and an outstanding leader with great history in Zanzibar. Chadema will do everything in our capacity to protect and uphold the institution,” he said.