Zitto says willing to stand as Opposition presidential candidate

Friday December 6 2019

ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe

ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe 

By Khalifa Said @ThatBoyKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe yesterday said the question of whether or not he will stand for the Presidency in the 2020 Elections will be subject to endorsement by his party and that of allied parties.

Mr Kabwe - who doubles as Kigoma Urban MP (ACT-Wazalendo) - made the statement in response to a question from a YouTuber during an interview with a local television station which was live-streamed on the platform.

He reiterated that he has always been forthright in his vision to lead Tanzania as president one day - pointing out, however, that one does not ascend to the highest office in the land by merely holding the vision. There are important procedures to observe and take into account, he stressed.

“Given the current political situation (in Tanzania), political opposition parties must unite and go as a coalition into the 2020 General Elections - and must ideally put up one candidate to confront the [ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi] CCM’s candidate.” The Kigoma Urban MP has in the recent past been at the forefront championing the formation of what he calls the ‘United Democratic Front,’ arguing that its formation is “an inescapable reality.”

“If the coalition of political parties sees it proper that I represent it as its candidate for the top position in the 2020 Elections, I’ll accept that responsibility,” he reiterated.

Mr Kabwe noted that if the same parties see that there’s a better alternative to him, even if that alternative comes from other parties, he would fully support that other person.


“That’s why I said it is no longer a question of whether I want (to contest) or not. Rather, it’s what our parties - and the ones that we collaborate with - that will decide on who is the best candidate to represent us in the coming elections,” Mr Kabwe said - adding that the issue of standing for the Presidency is not just a matter of wishing one’s name to appear on the ballot paper, but being able to bring victory to the party and its allies.

“It even goes beyond winning to cover the question of what will happen after winning... That is: what new policy will the person have, and whose implementation will help get our country out of its current social and economic woes,” he said.

In the interview, Mr Kabwe claimed that CCM is plotting to ensure it wins over 80 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the 2020 Elections so that it would be able to pass a resolution to amend the Constitution and scrap presidential term limits.

Efforts by The Citizen to get a CCM statement on the allegations failed to bear fruit yesterday, as its spokespersons could not be reached.

However, in different occasions, both party and the government are on record refuting the claims that there was a plan to change the Constitution to allow President John Magufuli to hold the highest office beyond the five-year two-term limits.

Dr Magufuli also personally ruled out any commitment to do so.