BENJAMIN WILLIAM MKAPA (57) CCM Presidential Candidate.
Mr Mkapa majored in English at Makerere University in 1962 and later studied journalism in America. He has been Managing Editor of three newspapers including the ‘Daily News’, Press Secretary to the President, Director of the Tanzania News Agency, High Commissioner in Nigeria and Canada, twice Foreign Minister and, since May 1992, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. He is an MP in Mtwara Region. His first job was District Officer in 1962.
Mkapa brings to the presidential race formidable experience of diplomacy and government but has never occupied an economic or financial post. In interviews he stresses that he is a creature of the CCM. He has a reputation as a reader and thinker but lists his hobby as ‘sauna’. He is likely to conduct a dignified campaign. He is reputed to say what he means; is hard-working, approachable and a good speaker in both English and Swahili.
He brings one great asset to the CCM campaign – his totally clean record – but some observers wonder, if he is elected, how he will be able to get rid of colleagues who might be found to be corrupt when he has been serving in the same party and government with them. Asked in a recent interview in the ‘Business Times’ how he would fight corruption his reply was: ‘It would not be prudent for me to spell it out in an interview. There will be a CCM manifesto which I am certain will deal with this question … but there would be no length to which I would not go to root it out’. The ‘Business Times’ went on to express uncertainty as to whether his election would promise peace and tranquillity or indecision and immobility.
Recalling British politician Enock Powell’s speech in the House of Commons during the time of the Falkland’s war about the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher – “This House and the World will learn of what metal she is made”, Tanzanian House Speaker Pius Msekwa said on July 29: “Mr Mkapa is made of ferrous material of the highest quality and of exceptional tensile strength … during the next month or two the opposition parties and indeed the rest of our country will learn of what metal Benjamin Mkapa is made”.
Mr Mkapa is a refreshingly honest politician. On learning of the arrival of Babu in the opposition camp he said: “This has obviously strengthened the opposition. We all know Babu as a good politician, a good economist and a prominent journalist ..•.. ” Such praise of one politician by another who is opposing him is so rare that it is likely to be remembered.
DR. OMAR ALI JUMA (54) CCM Vice-Presidential Candidate
Dr. Juma, is a Veterinarian by profession and was trained in Moscow, Edinburgh and Reading. After service as a Livestock Officer and then Principal Secretary he became an MP and has been Chief Minister of Zanzibar since 1988. He is regarded as a tough operator – most politicians in Zanzibar have to be – who does not mince his words in public.
DR. SALMIN AMOUR CCM Candidate for the Presidency of Zanzibar
Dr. Amour originally became President of Zanzibar in 1990 and has shown himself to be capable, determined and forceful as leader but he faces very strong opposition from the CUF party in an election in which there could be some intimidation.
AUGUSTINE LYATONGA MREMA. NCCR-Mageuzi Presidential Candidate
Mr Mrema started his career as a teacher and then became an officer in the State Security Service for which he was trained in Eastern Europe. He was serving in Shinyanga when the famous murders took place which resulted in the resignation of the then Home Affairs Minister, Mr Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
His opponent when he stood as MP for Moshi Rural in 1985 subsequently petitioned the Court to have the election annulled and won his case. It was only on appeal that Mr Mrema was able to retain his seat. He then became a powerful advocate for the cause of coffee farmers in Moshi.
After his re-election in 1990 he was appointed by President Mwinyi as Minister of Home Affairs where he rapidly built up nationwide popularity. He was widely regarded as the most popular member of the Mwinyi cabinet because of his unrelenting investigations into cases of corruption and injustice. His sacking by the President in February this year over the Chavda case (TA No 51) enhanced his reputation as a campaigner against corruption but some felt that he should have resigned earlier when, for example, in 1994, he discovered a gold smuggling racket in Zanzibar but was allegedly prevented from taking action and handed back the gold after ‘pressure from above’.
Most observers believe Mrema to be a skilled operator. He is a populist to the core and has been attracting huge crowds whenever he speaks. His campaign against the ill-treatment of wives by their husbands has made him popular amongst women. He knows how to keep his message simple so that people can understand. He was the only politician to fight tax evasion before it became a national scandal.
But his tendency to interfere in the affairs of other cabinet ministers did not make him popular amongst some of his colleagues. When Mr Cleopa Msuya became Prime Minister last year Mrema’s post of Deputy Prime Minister was abolished and he was first made Minister of Labour before being dismissed on February 14 this year (TA No.51)
Asked in an interview by the ‘East African’ about accusations that he had taken arbitrary actions when he was Minister of Home Affairs and whether he would abide by the rule of law if he became president, he said that he had had to take short cuts and make probes into other ministries to solve peoples’ problems. He promised to abide by the rule of law once he had established government machinery which was accountable and was responsive to peoples needs. He would appoint a Minister to be responsible for recovering property lost over the years through corruption.
Asked whether he had a tendency towards dictatorship he replied: ‘In the new era of liberalised politics there is no room for a dictator as President as there will be checks and balances like the new law allowing for impeachment of a president’ .
Asked about allegations that he owned several houses he said that he had one house in Marangu; he had taken a bank loan to build another house in Dodoma which he had not been able to finish. He was presently living in a rented house. His car had been provided in his capacity as an MP. He has been variously described as a loose cannon, an opportunist, an unguided missile. On one occasion he was said to have had the excellent idea of confiscating the chairs of bureaucrats who spent an inordinate amount of time outside their offices!
If he is elected as President life in Tanzania will not be dull. How Mr. Mrema would cope with a parliament in the hands of another party remains to be seen.
PROFESSOR AHMED MOHAMMED ABDULRAHMAN BABU (71)
Professor Babu was trained first in journalism and worked in the civil service in Zanzibar before entering radical leftwing politics leading the UMMA party in the 1960’s. He was very active at the time of the Zanzibar revolution and served as cabinet minister several times in the Isles and mainland governments. He was sentenced to death and imprisoned at one stage and then left Tanzania for university lecturing in America and established his reputation as an academic. He later settled in London as a successful freelance journalist.
He brings to the NCCR camp intellectual weight, ministerial experience, charm and considerable fame.
In an interview on June 2 in the ‘Business Times’ Babu modified some of his more radical views and said that he was now reconciled to the coexistence of free enterprise and collective ownership. He abhorred the IMF and World Bank structural adjustment programmes. Socialism was not dead at all. What was destroyed in the soviet Union was not socialism. Socialism could be, as in China, a transforming strategy, using capitalism in order to develop new socialism within a pluralistic context.
On the Union issue he said that what was needed was a treaty of cooperation between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
On arrival in Dar es Salaam to hold the NCCR banner he said that it was Mwalimu Nyerere’s partisanship (in favour of CCM) that had persuaded him to take part in the election.
SEIF SHARRIF HAMAD. CUF Candidate for the Zanzibari Presidency
Mr Hamad is the Vice-chairman and effective leader of the CUF and its very charismatic candidate for president of Zanzibar. He worked with Ali Hassan Mwinyi when the latter was Zanzibar President to defuse secessionist feeling. He pressed ahead when Chief Minister of Zanzibar from 1984 to 1989 with liberalization but was said to have alienated Zanzibar CCM traditionalists. He was dismissed as Chief Minister in 1988 and expelled from CCM. He was detained and charged with taking away confidential documents but the case was dropped. He favours the three-government structure for Tanzania which is strongly opposed by Nyerere. He proposes that compensation should be paid to those whose land was nationalised.
THE ROLE OF THE NYERERES
Political activists have been either filled with admiration or driven to exasperation as they have witnessed the way in which Mwalimu Nyerere, who officially retired eight years ago, has been so hyperactive in the process of choosing the CCM presidential candidate. First he wrote a book highly critical of the present leadership and of its corruption (TA No 50); then he defined clearly the qualities needed by any presidential candidate – commitment to the Union with Zanzibar and hence continuation of the present two government system, complete integrity and acceptance of the rule of law; then he made a number of well-timed speeches; finally, he managed to get himself invited to most of the significant meetings of the CCM leadership and membership when the issue was debated.
Originally he was believed to have favoured OAU Secretary-General Salim Salim as CCM presidential candidate but when Salim withdrew, Mwalimu Nyerere took a prominent part in ensuring that 14 other potential candidates including two former Prime Ministers (Malecela and Warioba) either retired from the fray or were eliminated as they did not comply with his leadership criteria. At the Dodoma selection conference Mwalimu, in an impassioned speech, stressed the importance of the Party selecting a candidate free from tribalism, corruption and religious bias. In the end it was believed to be his choice – Benjamin Mkapa – who got the nomination.
After a surprise meeting between Nyerere and Mrema Nyerere was quoted as saying that he would ‘not allow the country to go to the dogs’.
Both Mwalimu and Mkapa deny the above widely held interpretation of events. Mr Mkapa needs to establish himself as his own man.
Meanwhile, Mwalimu Nyerere’s son, Charles Makongoro Nyerere, has defected from the CCM, joined NCCR and is to be found accompanying Mrema on his nationwide campaign trips. The son was quoted as saying that his father still thought that Tanzania belonged to him rather than to the people.
THE OTHER PARTIES
UNITED DEMOCRATIC PARTY (UDP) is a creation of Presidential candidate John Cheyo. Cheyo was recommended by his local CCM branch in 1990 to be its candidate for parliament but was turned down by the leadership apparently because of his capitalist views. In last year’s civic elections UDP won 13 seats in Bariadi to CCM’s 13 and the ten which went to other parties. He advocates three governments, opposes Ujamaa villages; states that people, not the state should own land. He favours removal of restrictions on investment and that Tanzania should peg its Shilling to gold to control inflation. Running mate – Soud M Nassoro from Zanzibar.
TANZANIA DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE (TDA). Leader Oscar Kambona (67) one time close collaborator of Julius Nyerere who held many cabinet positions but then left the country for exile in Britain for more than 20 years. His party has entered into an alliance with the UNION FOR MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY (PODEMO) a splinter group of the UMD. The leader is Christopher Kasanga Tumbo.
CHAMA CHA DEMOKRASIA NA MAENDELEO (CHADEMA) under the leadership of former Finance Minister Edwin Mtei was considered the leading opposition party until it was eclipsed by the NCCR. Its vice-presidential candidate in Zanzibar is Abeid Abdullah Abeid (42).
UNION FOR MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY (UMD). The leader is Chief Abdullah Fundikira (76) but the party is riven by dissension. NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION ALLIANCE (NRA) led by Mr Abubakar Olutu, a Muslim from Kilimanjaro. The party gained massive pUblicity when former Finance Minister Kighoma Malima joined it and called for greater Muslim representation in the higher organs of the state (see Obituaries).
Other small parties include the NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY (NLD) – Chairman and Presidential candidate Emmanuel Makaidi; the NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR MASS ADVANCEMENT (NAMA); the UNITED PEOPLES CONGRESS (UPC); the POPULAR NATIONAL PARTY (PONA); the TANZANIA LABOUR PARTY (TLP); the TANZANIAN PEOPLES PARTY (TPP)’ and, the SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
This lengthy report on the elections has been written in the midst of almost daily changes in the political scene in Tanzania and by the time it reaches readers things may have changed further in unexpected ways – Editor (with much help from others which is much appreciated).