Dar es Saalam. The race for the 2020 General Election officially kicked off in Zanzibar yesterday.
In consequence whereof Ali Abeid Karume a son of the Isle’s founding President Abeid Amani Karumeand Mbwana Bakari Juma collected nomination forms of the veteran ruling political party CCM seeking the party’s nomination to stand for the Zanzibar Presidency.
Last week, CCM launched the intra-party electoral process by asking party members to collect nomination forms for the Union and Zanzibar Presidencies, beginning from yesterday to June 30 this year.
In the event, the two cadres were given nomination forms at the CCM Kisiwandui offices by the party’s deputy secretary general (Zanzibar), Dr Abdalla Juma Mabodi.
Addressing a press conference after receiving the forms, Mr Karume publicly pledged on the spot to protect the Union, promote CCM policies, provide free education and healthcare services to Zanzibaris, as well as find a lasting solutions to seemingly endless land disputes in the Spice Isles.
“I will promote gender equality, and ensure that our youth are taken good care of as they transit into adulthood,” Karume said.
He took the opportunity to commended the outgoing President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein - saying he was a visionary leader who pursued the policies and dreams of the revolutionary leader and first President of Zanzibar the late Abeid Amani Karume (April 26, 1964- April 7, 1972).
Mr Karume - who is the Youth, Arts, Culture and Sports minister in the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government - said he was seeking the Presidency so that he would safeguard and improve upon the Isles’ recorded achievements.
“Dr Shein listens to all of us in the Cabinet, and always comes up with very constructive ideas, including constructing new residential buildings for citizens, and rehabilitating existing ones,” he said, stressing his wish to emulate the outgoing president’s leadership style.
A former Tanzania ambassador to various European countries and the US, Karume said he withdrew from past presidential races in favour of Dr Shein’s outstanding leadership capabilities.
“I would do the same this year if someone with better capabilities joins the presidential race. If fact, I would join such a candidate in the best interests of the people of Zanzibar,” he said.
For his part, Mr Juma told a press conference that the Presidency was a tough job that required God’s intervention, as well as integrity, humbleness, sacrifice and understanding. This is because the Presidency is all about people’s well-being.
“Countries elect presidents who would meet the people’s expectations, but some of the presidents fail to do so. I’ve contemplated hard on this - and found myself fit for the position,” he said.
“I promise to protect the interests of the citizens once elected for the post. I promise to cooperate with the Union government not only to take the country to a middle income economy, but to also make Tanzania a regional economic hub,” Mr Juma said in a live televised event.
Speaking to The Citizen’s sister paper Mwananchi yesterday, the secretary general of the major political opposition party Chadema, John Mnyika, said his office will release the list of the party’s cadres aspiring for the Union Presidency ahead of the 2020 general election.
Elizabeth Mhagama - the secretary general of another opposition party, NCCR-Mageuzi - said her party’s nomination process also commenced yesterday, and will end on July 8 this year. During that time, party cadres are allowed to collect nomination forms for the Union and Zanzibar Presidential races, as well as for membership of the Union Parliament, the Zanzibar House of Representatives and local government Councillors.
Ms Mhagama said the party secretariat will meet on July 8 and 9 to go through the election aspirants before sending its proposals to a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) slated to hold its meeting on July 10 this year.
“NEC will select the names of candidates who would stand for election to the Union Parliament and the Zanzibar House of Representatives. The meeting will also choose names of candidates for the Union and Zanzibar presidential polls which would then be voted upon by the General Congress the following day,” she said.
In another development, the Kilwa South legislator on the CUF ticket, Selemani ‘Bwege’ Bungara, yesterday ditched his party and joined the ACT-Wazalendo party, blaming his former party for allegedly diverting its focus away from the agenda that earned it popularity, and earned the people’s trust in the past.