WHY DIDN'T THE OPPOSITION DO BETTER?

Firstly, there was a return of some ethnic feeling as the NCCR came to be regarded more and more as a Chagga party. Secondly, there were fears – many will consider them irrational – about how far the unpredictable populist Augustine Mrema might go if he became president. Could he become another Idi Amin? Would Tanzania become another Rwanda? Was he prepared to accept advice or would he rule alone? Thirdly (Mr. Mrema considered this to be the main cause of his defeat) there was the powerful intervention of Mwalimu Nyerere who was indefatigable in making his point (which was broadcast on national radio) that Mkapa was the only person fit to be president and Mrema was particularly unfit. Fourthly, the opposition was fragmented. The NCCR-Mageuzi insisted on putting up candidates in every seat and Mrema’s failure to establish an alliance with CUF, as a result of his abortive attempt to appoint veteran politician A M Babu a his Vicepresidential running mate, damaged his chances further.

Fifthly, the CCM gained a substantial advantage from the decision to pay subsidies to all candidates standing in the election thus encouraging small parties to stay in the race even where they had no hope of winning. Sixthly, the opposition failed to concentrate on registering its Supporters at the crucial time. Many of those in the vast throngs who attended Mrema rallies around the country could not vote for him when the time came. Finally, Mrema’s performance in the TV and Radio debate compared poorly with that of other presidential candidates.

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