President Jakaya Kikwete
President Jakaya Kikwete

President Jakaya Kikwete

President Jakaya Kikwete

According to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), a total of eligible voters are 23,253,982 people, out of them 503,193 are in Zanzibar. This is the fifth general election to be held under multi-party political system since it was re-introduced in 1992.

Eight aspirants are in the race to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete, who leaves the office after serving two five-year term as provided for in the constitution. Voters would also elect MPs in 265 constituencies throughout the country, as well as hundreds of councillors.

The CCM candidate, Dr John Pombe Magufuli (56), running on the ticket of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is widely expected to be the fifth phase government president.

He is, however, facing strong challenge from former Prime Minister Edward Ngoyai Lowassa (62), who in July defected from CCM and joined Chadema after failure to secure the party’s nomination to run for the top job.

Mr Lowassa’s candidature is supported by the coalition of four main opposition political parties. Other parties in the coalition, populary known by its Swahili acronym as UKAWA, are Civic United Front (CUF), NCCR-Mageuzi and National League for Democracy (NLD).

If elected, Dr Magufuli shall be the country’s fifth president after the founding president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (1961-1985), Mr Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-1995), Mr Benjamin William Mkapa (1995-2005) and Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (2005 – 2015).

Other presidential hopefuls are Ms Anna Elisha Mghywira of the recently formed Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo), Mr Fahmi Nassoro Dovutwa of United People’s Democratic Party (UPDP), Mr Hashim Rungwe Spunda of Chama Cha Ukombozi wa Umma (CHAUMA) and Mr Janken Malik Kasambala of National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA).

Others are Chief Lutalosa Yembe of Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC) and Mr Machmillan Elifatia Lyimo of Tanzania Labour Party (TLP). President Kikwete last week ordered the police to boost security to ensure voting, the counting process and release of results are conducted smoothly.

Mr Kikwete urged the police to execute their duty ethically and professionally, without favouring or intimidating anyone.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ernest Mangu and various regional police commanders have repeatedly urged all eligible voters to turn out without fear, assuring them of their security.

In Zanzibar, voters would apart from electing the union president and MPs are also going to pick the Isle’s president and members of the House of Representatives.

Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, is seeking re-election, while the first Vice-President Seif Shariff Hamad, is making his fifth attempt for the post. There are also other 12 candidates in the race.

By JOHN KULEKANA, Tanzania Daily News

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