Southern African News Features                                           SANF 10 No 30, Aug 2010
Tanzania gears up for elections

Tanzania’s ruling party has endorsed President Jakaya Kikwete to run for a second term in the general elections scheduled for 31 October.

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since independence in 1961, made the decision at a national general congress held in early July.

The CCM also selected Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein as its candidate for the Zanzibar presidential polls, to be conducted on the same date.

Zanzibar is a part of the United Republic of Tanzania. However, the Zanzibar archipelago, comprising the two main islands of Unguja and Pemba, retains its own governance structure and electoral system in addition to the Union structures.

The two - Zanzibar and Tanganyika, as the mainland was then known -- entered into a Union in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania, whose main objective is to build a unified society based on freedom, human rights and peaceful existence.

Speaking after his nomination, Kikwete said he will strive to give his best in his last term in office, should voters re-elect him for another five years.

He said in spite of the numerous achievements realized in the last few years, he still believes that he has a lot to contribute towards the development of the country.

"In my first years I had to learn a lot of things from different people, especially from retired President Benjamin Mkapa on how to lead and face challenges," he said.

"I am sure the second term will be easier for me. I thank all the members for giving me this opportunity for the second time. It shows the trust and confidence they have in me."

Kikwete, who has chosen Mohamed Gharib Bilal as his running mate, said the slogan for this year’s campaign would be: "More Vigour, More Zeal and More Speed", a change from the 2005 drive of "New Vigour, New Zeal and New Speed".

He said his priorities include improving the economy, education and health as well as "implementing what we might not have accomplished during my first term."

"I look forward to building a nation that is economically independent by undertaking deliberate steps to revolutionize agriculture, livestock keeping, fisheries and industries…

"We must turn Tanzania into the hub from which goods are transported to other countries in east, central and southern Africa. This will be done by strengthening our railway and port operations."

Kikwete, who won the 2005 elections by more than two-thirds majority, is expected to face several opposition challengers in the presidential elections.

These include Freeman Mbowe and Ibrahim Lipumba of the main opposition parties, the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendelo (CHADEMA) and the Civic United Front (CUF) respectively.

In Zanzibar, CCM’s biggest adversary would be the CUF candidate, Seif Shariff Hamad, who will be vying for the Zanzibar presidency for the fourth time after failed attempts in 1995, 2000 and 2005.

The elected candidate will succeed Amani Abeid Karume, whose second and final term as Zanzibar President ends in October.

In a referendum held on 31 July, Zanzibaris voted for a unity government after the October general elections.

A unity government will include a President from the wining party, first Vice President from the second-placed party and second Vice President from the wining party.

The October general election will be Tanzania’s fourth since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1992.

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SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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