Saturday, September 5, 2015

Opposing Forces

Okay, so last week's post was about the majority party's bid for continued political dominance in Tanzania.  It's most likely a done deal that CCM will win the election by hook or by *crook,* but I gotta give the opposition a lil' face time as well, so here goes.

In past years, there were a bunch a little, loosey-goosey opposition parties, none of which were particularly strong except for Cha Dema, which is short for Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (the Party for Democracy and Development).

The big feature of Cha Dema is its strong anti-corruption platform.  It's often been characterized as a party of younger voters, students, and people who are fed up with the alleged dishonesty that has been associated with CCM's recent candidates.

The HILARIOUS thing about Cha Dema's current candidate, Edward Lowassa, is that until very recently, he was a bigwig for CCM!  That is, until he was outed as a veritable criminal and forced to defect from his party!!

Now, his political allegiance (read: ambition) lies with the opposition party, and people think he has a good chance as Magufuli's main competition for the presidency.

Because all those little parties have been so scattered in years past with various political platforms and a lot of geographical alliances, someone amongst them had the good sense to knot them all together and form UKAWA, which surely stands for something or other in Swahili and which means Coalition for the People's Constitution (huh?) in English.

So, Lowassa appears to be repping Cha Dema under the umbrella of UKAWA....  Or something like that....


Tanzania Opposition Cha Dema to Launch Campaign Saturday 

Tanzania's main opposition political party, Cha Dema, will officially launch its campaign for the October 25 general election Saturday in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Tumaini Makene, Cha Dema party spokesman, says his group aims to present a united front with other opposition parties known as UKAWA, to challenge and break the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party's dominance.

Senior officials of the party and other prominent opposition leaders plan to participate in the campaign launch, according to Makene.  He says the party, which campaigns on the platform of change, represents the hopes and aspirations of many Tanzanians, who he says are fed up with the country's poor and ineffective leadership from the ruling CCM.

"People are coming from all parts of the country to witness what is going to be happening.  It will be broadcast live on television and radio," said Makene.

Lowassa Emerges

Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa who recently defected to the opposition party from CCM is expected to lead Cha Dema in the presidential election.  A few opposition leaders have since resigned their positions in Cha Dema, citing Lowassa's defection as the reason.

But Makene says Lowassa defected with a big cross-section of supporters from CCM, and that the defection serves as a significant boost to the opposition before the poll.

Professor Xavery Lwaitama of the Josiah Kibira University College says the defection of the former prime minister has caused a seismic political shift in both the ruling party and the opposition alliance.

Lwaitama also says Lowassa's influence in the ruling party slices the chances of the CCM in the general election, which tilts the balance in favor of the opposition alliance in the vote.

"That is one of the political earthquakes that is expected when a big shot like the former prime minister leaves a ruling party like the CCM," said Lwaitama.

Registration Continues 

An estimated 24 million prospective voters have been registered, after the electoral body compiled a voters list to be used for the election.

Makene says the ruling party has lost legitimacy, which could undermine the party's efforts to maintain its dominance.  He also expressed confidence that with support from other opposition parties known as UKAWA, Cha Dema is likely to defeat CCM in the upcoming vote.

"As time goes on, the opposition is gaining strength, and CCM is losing its influence and becoming weaker.  Meanwhile, Cha Dema has been able to gain political legitimacy from the Tanzanian people," said Makene.

But supporters of the CCM say the party knows how to win elections, adding that this time would not be different.  They dismissed Lowassa's defection as good riddance, after accusing the former prime minister of being tainted with corruption.  Lowassa denies the allegation.

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