Election: who are the key players?

People climb up on a structure for a better view of a political rally last month. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

People climb up on a structure for a better view of a political rally last month. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Elections can be confusing anywhere in the world and Tanzania is no different.  This is the first in a three-part summary on the key players and talking points in the lead up to the election on October 25, 2015.

A united opposition with a high-profile defector at the helm is going against the only party to hold power in Tanzania since independence.

Amid a flurry of high-profile candidates vying for top spot, ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) nominated relatively unknown Minister of Works John Magufuli to be its presidential candidate.

One of those high-profile candidates who was passed over was former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, 61, who then crossed party lines and joined opposition party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA.)

There are two women in the race: political newcomers the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT) named Anna Mghwira as their candidate for the top spot, while in the CCM camp Magufuli’s named Samia Suluhu as his running-mate.
Under the umbrella of a new opposition alliance, CHADEMA’s newly acquired high-profile defector was named as the presidential candidate for UKAWA.

UKAWA is the name of a political alliance made up of four opposition parties: CHADEMA, Civic United Front (CUF), NCCR-Mageuzi and the National League for Democracy (NLD.)

The decision to place a long-time opponent in power didn’t sit well with some long-time opposition members, leading to the departure of CHADEMA Secretary-General Wilbroad Slaa and Civic United Front (CUF) chairman Ibrahim Lipumba.

Outgoing president and CCM Chairman Jakaya Kikwete says that CCM can not rely on its historical track record, citing cases in Kenya and Canada where long-standing parties have been ousted.

“We must be able to read the signs on the wall. The time for CCM to run on its past records is over,” says Kikwete.

Coming up in Part 2: what are the key talking points?

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