CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENCY AND THE AGE FACTOR

by David Brewin

The next stage of the election battle in Tanzania may well involve differences between the young and the old amongst politicians, as the East African has pointed out. The paper is widely read online within Tanzania. Those in their forties are described as ‘the young ones’, while the experienced older politicians are mostly in their sixties.

January Makamba has been the first MP of the ruling CCM party to declare his interest in the top job. He is 41, one year above the minimum age required by the Constitution for someone wishing to be President. Others in the same age group are the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Lazaro Nyalandu (46), the Deputy Minister of Finance Mwigulu Nchemba (40) and Hamis Kigwangala, who is currently 39 but will turn 40 before October.

Makamba, in particular, has made much use of the age factor in his recent speeches. He claims that Tanzania needs a youthful leader, strong enough to address modern challenges and bring in new ideas. Amongst the older generation are former Prime Ministers Edward Lowassa (61) and Frederick Sumaye (64) as well as Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe (61) and the current Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda (66).

Others who are also likely to compete for the job are two Minister of State in the President’s Office, Stephen Wassira (69) and Mark Mwandosya (65); East African Cooperation Minister Samuel Sitta (72); Vice President of Tanzania Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal (69); and President of Zanzibar Ali Mohammed Shein (66).

In a surprise intervention last year, President Kikwete called upon Tanzanians to opt for a young person as his successor. He said that the youth were the catalysts for development and he would like to see, as his successor, a person at least as young as he was when he ran for the presidency. He was then 55.

Lowassa, who is at present regarded as the one most likely to be chosen as CCM candidate, was President Kikwete’s right-hand man during the presidential campaign in 2005. He resigned from the premiership in February 2008 over his alleged role in the Richmond energy scandal.

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