Hildebrand Shayo, who writes on social, economic and political issues in the UK, has sent us his views:
People in Tanzania are excited. Although President Mkapa has warned against political ‘hooliganism’, enthusiasm for the coming contest is rife everywhere. But, coming up to the 2005 general election there is increasing disagreement about who is likely to take over from President Mkapa. Tanzanians, both in urban and in rural areas, are frustrated and many are eager to know who will be the next President. The incompetent opposition camp is not likely to provide an alternative to the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party. This implies that certainly CCM will win the 2005 elections with a landslide. Although many Tanzanians are anticipating a ‘surprise’ in the choice of candidate, names that have been mentioned are numerous. Although I may be proved incorrect, I don’t agree with recent views, expressed by long-standing politicians, who continue to maintain that the time hasn’t yet arrived to start discussing who will take over from President Mkapa.
The Tanzanian constitution stipulates that the President must hold a University degree. Does this decisive factor take some of the candidates who have been mentioned off the list? No. There are rumours that some mentioned names are working on their degrees and putting in place mechanisms that will help to oil their campaign machinery. One of the candidates being mentioned, Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye, was the biggest vote getter at the CCM National Executive Committee (NEC) candidate elections in Dodoma at the elections in 1995, outperforming even the influential veteran Marxist ideologue Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru whose power in the CCM is well known.
My view is that we still don’t know what will happen this time. Prime Minister Sumaye has remained an outsider, at least in the party machinery. He is a hard worker, he has knowledge about the running of the government, and is well intentioned; but, during the forthcoming campaign, he may be easily squashed by wise party heavyweights if the competition is intense. Time will tell whether some of these candidates can build the required skills and expertise in time to be fit to be candidates but many doubt it.
Zanzibar President Abeid Karume, (son of the first President of Zanzibar) is a laid back kind of a gentleman, almost an ‘Uhuru Kenyatta’ replica. (The son of Jomo Kenyattta who tried but failed to become President of Kenya last year). He does not take politics too seriously as opposed to former Zanzibar President Dr Salmin Amour and that has helped Zanzibar in the reconciliation process. Karume has offered tremendous concessions to CUF that would have been unthinkable during Amour’s era (eight CUF members work alongside CCM counterparts in key and sensitive government positions in Zanzibar!). Karume could suit the position of Tanzanian Vice President, but that also won’t happen, for he will want to remain the President of Zanzibar. He could have made a good Vice- President but lacks the ‘gravitas of former Prime Minister and Head of the OAU, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, and he is not a great communicator. My sense is that he enjoys being the President of Zanzibar and will offer formidable opposition to the leading opposition candidate in the Isles.
The two ‘young’ men, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Jakaya Kikwete and Minister of Water and Livestock Development Edward Lowassa, had a terrible time in Chimwaga (CM HQ) in Dodoma in 1995. They both got disappointing votes both in NEC and Central Committee contests and that is certainly unhelpful to their ambitions. You wonder what has gone wrong in the past eight years. That is the problem with operating with a sense of privilege (“my turn is coming”). However, despite losing that magic touch and mystique with the general public, they remain influential in the CCM party and what they do next will definitely have an impact on the party’s future. Dr John Malecela, Vice-Chairman of CCM, will definitely not win but we need him as the CCM party’s wise man. However. who he chooses for an ally will be the key. Sumaye was to be the Party’s Vice-Chairman in the last party election in 1995 but Malecela chose to keep the seat. Malecela is one of the very few people in CCM who is beyond the control of anybody. Known as a smart, behind-the-scenes operator he is likely to have in his mind the alliance he will need to back up his candidature. If things get out of hand, this could prove devastating for the CCM party. Such alliances, and a cluster of other factors known within the party, may hasten the realisation of the late Dr Nyerere’s prophesy that the only credible opposition will come from within the CCM.
Lowassa is an extremely intelligent ‘A type’ personality; a hard working Maasai. He is a ‘can do’ type of gentleman. The problem is that he is assumed to be too much of a thriving entrepreneur. However, Lowassa would have been flourishing even if he had chosen to be a cattle herder. It appears that he hasn’t recovered from the bruises of the 1995 campaign and the hugely symbolic action of President Mkapa in leaving him out of his first cabinet. Unless something huge happens, his presidential ambitions appear to be ruined. In the period running up to the 1995 elections, he was partly elevated because of the ‘Mrema threat’ (CCM feared that Augustine Mrema, the leading opposition candidate at that time) could win but, as we all know, that threat no longer exists. In essence, CCM can afford to surprise us with a non-celebrity candidate.
Former Prime Minster Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba is one of those respectable and incorruptible fellows. He will only run if there are guarantees that he will win the nomination this time around. His recent judgeship appointment to the East African Community Court moved him away from the political scene during a very important ‘jockeying period’. He will most likely quietly enjoy his judgeship and private practice in Dar es Salaam. However, if Dr. Salim runs and wins the nomination, he will accept none other than Warioba for a running mate. The two of them would be a ‘super ticket’ as they would bring with them the voters of the Isles and the vast Sukuma population of the Lake region, their respective birthplaces. So, Warioba could end up the Vice-President.
A quick analysis of the other possible candidates:
Former Minister of Commerce and Industry Iddi Simba – very influential; big CCM architect and a crucial link between CCM and the business community. His presidential ambitions, however, are not going anywhere. He is not so popular with the CCM rank and file for he appears very elitist. His demotion from the cabinet was also unhelpful. He will, however, come back after 2005 in a prominent position if Dr. Salim becomes the President for he is a good friend to Dr. Salim. Minister of Agriculture Charles Keenja is mentioned but his chances are extremely slim. He is known for cleaning up Dar es Salaam (which he really didn’t) but only when there was no bureaucratic democratic system (of councillors) to negotiate with. His political skills, thus, remain untested. He is a Sumaye buddy and that will feature in the equation. He also shares the same ‘outsider’ problem as Sumaye despite winning a position on the NEC. He however could be a surprise candidate. Many don’t know enough about him to be able to judge whether he would be a good president but his ‘electability’ inside CCM is doubtful.
Minister for Works John Pombe Magufuli could be the big surprise. He is very articulate, hard working, a former school teacher, very well educated (Master’s holder in Engineering). He has proved exceptional in performance in his very difficult ministry. He is fearless and has been Mkapa’s asset in the cabinet. He is a smooth government operative and can also be a good politician. He was not very well known by Tanzanians. But, hey, we didn’t know Mkapa that well in 1995. If he wins the nomination he will have been ‘pushed’ and emerge as a compromise candidate if the nomination process proves divisive and contentious, as it will likely be.
Minister for Telecommunications Prof. Mark Mwandosya was a rising star in Tanzania. At one point he was mentioned as a replacement for Sumaye for the Premiership. The past year hasn’t been good to him and his star has waned. The railway disaster and the role he played in the privatisation of Tanzania Telecommunications has discredited him. His attempt to get the elders from Mbeya to speak for him was an amateurish political move.
Vice-President Shein’s future hangs in the balance in all this. But, just as in the case of Magufuli, he could be a surprise candidate. The man is qualified to be President pure and simple. He is composed, well educated, incorruptible, not a political opportunist and, most importantly, he comes from Pemba. With his ‘upole’ however, we could have the kind of problem former President Mwinyi was faced with; i.e. controlling the economy. I must concede that I don’t know about him well enough to have a definitive opinion.
My pick for the nod is Dr. Salim. He was Defence, Foreign and Prime Minister. He is a NEC and CC member. He is from Pemba. His lengthy time abroad shielded him from local scandals such as corruption and finally, he is a Mwalimu Nyerere candidate. He has gravitas, he is presidential, articulate and known and respected by almost everyone in Tanzania and outside. If he committed some blunders as OAU Secretary General, they are unknown back home. With Warioba as a running mate, that is a winning combination. Pembans, most of whom support the opposition, don’t associate him too much with CCM (he has been abroad too long) and he would garner some votes for CCM there. His election would give another lifeline to the Union. There are many more names to go through such as Gertrude Mongela who openly complained to CCM Secretary General Philip Mangula recently that CCM had never nominated a woman candidate for the highest post. There has been bewilderment on the presidential post since President Mkapa declared recently that the presidency of the United Republic of Tanzania does not need to alternate between the Mainland and the Isles.
All this is speculation. A week is a long time in politics
The publication ‘Africa Analysis’ (20th February) also wrote about what it described as ‘the feverish speculation’ as to who might emerge as the Union’s presidential candidate. It said that candidates would have to contend with ‘the powerful force that is 70-year-old John Malecela,’ who was extremely popular within the party. He was said to be planning to pick former Zanzibar President Salmin Amour – ‘an unpopular figure among the mainland elite’ – as his running mate. Such a team would also be anathema to what was described as ‘the System’ – ‘a cabal of senior security officers most of whom had been appointed by the late Julius Nyerere. The article went on: ‘During the CCM nominations for the last elections in 2000, ‘the System’ had been responsible for the debacle that saw Amani Karume, who garnered fewer votes than his rivals, emerge as the CCM candidate for the Iisles presidential elections, which he won, albeit controversially.’
As regards the contest for the Zanzibar presidency, the article said that, if the elections were free and fair – ‘a tall order considering the isles’ last two electoral experiences’ the leader of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) Seif Shareef Hamad, might well emerge as the next President of Zanzibar. CUF’s eminence in Zanzibar had been further guaranteed when the up and coming opposition party SAFINA (‘Ark’) had been banned recently after it failed to fulfill registration requirements. SAFINA was described as the brain-child of the elder brother of Salmin Amour who was ‘suspected of being the leader of a strong CCM faction in the isles opposed to the current Zanzibar President, Amani Karume’. However the brother had been expelled recently from the party on allegations of misconduct.
The ‘Africa Analysis’ article went on to explain how any CCM member aspiring to become a presidential candidate would first have to take the forms and then seek 250 sponsors in 10 regions including Zanzibar. The CCM Central Committee would then make five recommendations to the NEC which would choose three of them whose names would then be sent to the National Party Congress. This Congress would make the final choice. The process should end by April 30, 2005.