Four candidates in Tanzania's presidential elections have now all died

Former leaaders and presidential candidate in 2015 General Elections from left; John Magufuli, Edward Lowassa, Anna Mghwira and Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad

What you need to know:

  • However, four out of the 10 candidates for the 2015 presidential election have passed away due to various causes.

Dar es Salaam. In 2015 Tanzania held its General Election that commenced with political campaigns on August 22 and ceased a day before the polling day on October 25.

The 2015 poll was seen as the most competitive and unpredictable in the nation's history with various candidates vying for presidency for Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

However, the favorites to win were John Magufuli of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and Edward Lowassa who defected to the opposition Chadema after failing to secure the CCM nomination.

The election was held and Magufuli won 58.46 percent of all the votes cast while Lowassa garnered 40 percent of the ballots cast. 

Magufuli was the President of Tanzania for two terms (2015–2020) and from 2020 until his death in March 2021.

Apart from Magufuli and Lowassa, other candidates with their parties in brackets were; Anna Mghwira (ACT- Wazalendo), who was the only female presidential candidate, Hashim Rungwe (Chaumma), Maximillian Lyimo (TLP), Fahmi Dovutwa (UPDP), Janken Kasambara (NRA), and Lutalosa Yembe (ADC).

For Zanzibar the main aspirants were Dr Ali Mohammed Shein (CCM) and Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad (CUF).

However, what remains of that era is a shadow of death, as four out of the ten candidates for the 2015 presidential election have passed away due to various causes.

 John Magufuli

Tanzania's fifth President aged 61 died in March, 2021 from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Edward Lowassa

The former Prime Minister (2005-2008) was pronounced dead at the age of 70 on February 10, 2024 while receiving treatment at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) in Dar es Salaam.

 Anna Mghwira

The former Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Ms Anna Mghwira, died in July 2021 at Mount Meru Hospital in Arusha Region. She passed away at the age of 62.

Maalim Seif

The former Zanzibar’s First Vice President, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, died a month earlier before Magufuli’s death while undergoing treatment at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam. He died aged 77.

Beyond 2015, Tanzania has also lost two more candidates who contested for the presidency in 2020. These are Bernard Membe and Augustine Mrema.

 A veteran Politician and the former chairman of the Tanzania Labour Party (TLP), Mrema died while being treated at the Muhimbili National Hospital in August 2022. He was aged 77.

The former minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation and former presidential candidate on the ACT-Wazalendo ticket, Mr Bernard Membe, 70, passed away at Kairuki Hospital in Dar es Salaam in May 2023.

Tanzania is expected to hold another general election in 2025.