Dar/Mwanza. Today marks 12 days since the National Electoral Commission (NEC) approved a total of 15 Tanzanians to vie for the Union Presidency in the October 28 General Election this year.
Although candidates started campaigning at a time which they deemed opportune for them, so far, at least 20 have ranked highly in what they promise to do for Tanzanians if and when elected.
While CCM’s John Magufuli is banking on his massive investment in physical infrastructure, his opposition counterparts seem to take different stratagems as they seek to woo voters over to their side of the power struggle.
ACT-Wazalendo’s Benard Membe and Chadema’s Tundu Lissu seem to be dancing to the tune of ‘Rights’ to woo voters over to their time.
Dr Magufuli, who has so far conducted rallies in seven administrative regions, banks his campaign success on electricity generation, improving infrastructure, tweaking the delivery of education, water and health services, buying more airplanes for Air Tanzania, industrializing the country and fine-tuning the economy.
Dr Magufuli has so far stressed his resolve to continue with rural power connection, promising full electrification in the next five years if he wins. According to him, more than 9,000 villages have already access to electricity and that the remaining about 2,600 villages would be connected within the first three years of his second year term in office.
He said construction of the Nyerere Hydropower Project which is to generate 2,115 megawatts will ensure a reliable supply of the electricity across Tanzania and beyond.
CCM is promising to continue building new roads, airports and the standard gauge railway (SGR) whose construction has already started. Actual construction of the SGR for the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro phase and the Morogoro-Makutupora sections was at advanced stages, noting however that a tender has been floated for the SGR from Mwanza to Isaka through Shinyanga.
“This is a huge project which will not only simplify transportation, but will also reduce costs and create jobs for Tanzanians,” he said.
New airports were promised for Nzega, Shinyanga, Simiyu and Musoma. CCM also targets some 6,000km of new tarmac roads in the next five years.
Dr Magufuli said he would continue implementing free primary and secondary education and build more classes to ensure young Tanzanians have access to education. He also said the budget for loans to students in higher learning institutions increased from around Sh300 billion to Sh460 billion during his tenure.
CCM candidate promised to accelerate the provision of healthcare services by building more health centres and referral hospitals through increased Health budgets. According to him, health budget increased from Sh31 billion in 2015 to Sh270 billion - and pledged to increase it to bring specialized services closer to rural people.
Industrialization is still on top of the agenda, with the ruling party promising to build industrial clusters depending on the availability of resources. Dr Magufuli said some 8,000 industries were built in the last five years - and, now, he wants to accelerate the gains.
CCM’s presidential candidate has promised to buy five more aircraft for the national carrier Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL), including a cargo plane.
Dr Magufuli outlined his success in the economic development for sustained economic growth and the recent shift of Tanzania to a lower middle income status before the target of 2025. He said if re-elected, he would want to turn Tanzania into another Europe by building modern roads, railways and improved social services.
‘Justice, Justice, Justice...’
For their part, the political opposition parties in the race believe that NEC is being unfair in the way some of the opposition aspirants were barred from contesting.
Launching Chadema’s campaign at Dar es Salaam’s Zakheim Grounds, Mr Lissu called for justice, saying a number of its candidates had been disqualified from the race for no apparent reason.
Social services, agriculture
As Mr Lissu’s campaigns intensified, he pledged to strengthen delivery of social services, subsidize cotton production and scrap the Sh20,000 fee payable by petty traders (Machingas) annually to be provided with business Identification Cards (IDs).
Mr Lissu promised to make Mwanza a trade hub for traders from neighbouring countries to buy goods and build petty traders’ markets in various regions.
Also, he pledged to promote shriving of the private sector and ensure farmers are paid immediately after selling their produce.
Universal health insurance
According to him, the Chadema formed government will ensure every Tanzanian has access to quality health services through a universal health insurance.
“We will focus on raising incomes of individuals so they can pay the right and affordable tax,” he said.
Improving road connectivity across villages, restoring respect to people in the southern regions and improving farmers’ wellbeing emerged high on the agenda of the ACT-Wazalando Presidential candidate when he launched it in Lindi last week.
Farmers’ instant payments
According to him, an ACT-Wazalendo-led government would respect farmers and ensure they are instantly paid after selling their produce, as well as recognize the infamous middlemen: Kangombas.
“An ACT-Wazalendo government would come up with a health insurance policy that would have the government paying for one-third of health costs for Tanzanians,” he told residents of Lindi town at the Mpilipili Primary School grounds.
Paying for the dead?
He added: “When one dies while receiving treatment at a public hospital, the deceased’s relatives will not be required to pay hospital costs anymore to access their departed relative’s body.”
The former Foreign Affairs minister also promised promotion and pay rise for public servants; cordial relations with other countries, regional bodies and the international community.
According to him, fishermen will have a good time during his leadership.
A Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant project would take off without further delays if Mr Membe is elected Union President.
The NCCR-Mageuzi candidate, Jeremiah Maganja, pledged a people-centred Union Constitution within 12 to 18 months after assuming the Union Presidency.
He also promised to bring consensus, form a Government of National Unity (GNU) - and ensure the country’s education provides knowledge that could enable graduates to transform the economy.
“I will ensure that laws governing trade and taxes are not oppressive,” he said, noting that he would formulate a single national policy out of the political parties’ manifestos.
Water canal to Dodoma
For his part, Chaumma presidential candidate Hashim Rungwe promised to build a water canal from the Indian Ocean in Dar es Salaam to Dodoma during his 10 years of presidency.
Launching his campaigns at the Bakhresa grounds in Manzese, he pledged to construct a bridge connecting the Dar es Salaam and Malindi Ports in Zanzibar in the next five years if voted the country’s president.