Dar es Salaam. With exactly one month remaining before Tanzanians go to the polls in the October 28 General Election, the presidential campaign field can hardly be described as crowded.
With the exception of Dr John Magufuli (CCM), Mr Tundu Lissu (Chadema) and Prof Ibrahim Lipumba (CUF), the remaining 12 candidates have been largely anonymous since the two-month campaign period commenced on August 26.
The 12 contestants listed in alphabetical order of the short forms of their parties’ names are Mr Seif Maalim Seif (AAFP); Mr Bernard Membe (ACT-Wazalendo); Mr John Shibuda (Ada-Tadea); Ms Queen Sendiga (ADC); Mr Hashim Rungwe (Chaumma); Ms Cecilia Mbaga (DM); Mr Philipo Fumbo (DP); Mr Jeremiah Maganja (NCCR-Mageuzi); Mr Leopold Mahona (NRA); Mr Mutamwega Mgaywa (SAU); Mr Khalfan Mazrui (UMD) and Mr Twalib Kadege (UPDP).
Since campaigns began last month, it is only the CCM, Chadema and CUF candidates who have campaigned consistently.
ACT-Wazalendo candidate Bernard Membe kicked off his election bid on September 2, but disappeared from the campaign trail after canvassing for votes for three days in Lindi and Coast regions.
He later revealed that he had been in the United Arab Emirates on private business.
Despite promising that he would return to the campaign trail soon, he had not done so by yesterday.
Mr John Shibuda of Ada-Tadea has also been quiet since campaigns began.
He, however, told The Citizen that he was due to launch his campaigns yesterday in Maswa, Simiyu Region.
“From Maswa, we will continue with our campaign in other places as indicated on the schedule released by the electoral commission,” Mr Shibuda said.
In contrast to the majority of parties in the presidential race, which have said that their campaigns have been bogged down by financial constraints, Mr Shibuda said his party had enough funds for its campaign.
Parties whose campaigns have been progressing at a snail’s pace due to lack of funds include Chaumma, DM, NRA and UPDP.
Chaumma’s Hashim Rungwe said last week that most political parties were unable to campaign effectively due to budgetary constraints.
This has prompted some parties to ask the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to revise its original campaign timetable.
NRA secretary-general Hassan Almasi told The Citizen yesterday that they now expect to hold campaign rallies from October 10, admitting that the party had been crippled by lack of funds.
“We started by conducting door-to-door campaigns instead of holding political rallies. We have so far reached voters in Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Kigoma regions,” he said.
SAU chairperson Bertha Nkango said the party has so far campaigned in Coast Region, but quickly added that money was not a problem.
“The only problem is that our presidential candidate was recently taken ill, and was unable to continue with his campaign as scheduled. We plan to visit all regions within a month after our candidate recovers from illness,” she said.
UPDP Zanzibar presidential candidate Hamad Ibrahim told The Citizen yesterday that the part has so far in September campaigned in only four regions in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.
“Today (yesterday) we are campaigning in Morogoro and on September 30, we will be in Dar es Salaam. We plan to have reached at least six regions by the beginning of October to take our total to ten regions in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar,” he said.
DM ideology and publicity deputy secretary Coaster Kibonde said yesterday that the party has so far campaigned in Dar es Salaam only.
“We are experiencing financial challenges, and will thus be able to reach only a few regions. Next on our list are Tanga and Coast regions,” he said.
DP ideology and publicity secretary Geras Mwesiga told The Citizen that the party was continuing with its campaigns, but declined to state which regions had been covered so far.
For his part, AAFP running mate Rashidi Rai said the party’s plan was to embark on “serious” campaigning from October.
“Our strategy is to conduct rallies in October. The aim is to ensure that voters don’t forget our policies and aspirations until Election Day,” he said.