National Congress of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) has unanimously endorsed the former prime minister, Edward Lowassa, as presidential candidate under the coalition of four opposition Parties (UKAWA).
Mr Lowassa said in his acceptance speech that he did not join the opposition by accident but made the decision after consultations with friends and family members and convinced that through Ukawa socio-economic changes envisioned by Tanzanians would be achieved.
“This is no longer a journey of hope but rather a journey of change outside CCM.
The aspiration of any political party is to form the government.
I am confident victory is on our side in a broad daylight. “Let us be focused and confident that we can oust the ruling party.
Peaceful and decent campaigns will be conducted and let not chaos originate from our side,” Mr Lowassa said. As for claims that the opposition was not in a position to form the government, he said the national liberation party, TANU (Tanganyika African National Union) was seven years old when it assumed power against colonial domination.
The delegates also endorsed the nomination of the former Civic United Front (CUF) Deputy Chairman, Mr Juma Duni Haji running mate of Mr Lowassa on the ticket of Chadema.
Mr Duni (alias Babu) joined Chadema as laws and regulations of the land do not permit coalitions in the election process. Addressing about 2,000 congress members from 11 zones, the First Zanzibar Vice-President and General Secretary of CUF, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad said Chadema had made the right choice to welcome Mr Lowassa and make him the flag bearer as he is talented and endowed with all qualifications of the leader.
“There is no doubt; unity formed under Ukawa will lead to the downfall of the ruling party. Propaganda will not destabilise us. For example, rumours circulated around that our CUF national Chairman Prof Lipumba has resigned are totally unfounded. He has not tendered any letter of resignation and does not intend to do so,” he clarified.
Mr Haji appreciated for the warm welcome accorded to him as a new party member and the vice- president in waiting. Chadema National Chairman, Mr Freeman Mbowe said Ukawa’s dream was to help Tanzanians realise their dream of better life and not about dividing the national cake among leaders as wrongly portrayed by the opponents.
“We have to sacrifice. Each of us can serve the nation even as an ordinary citizen. Those who cannot make it to leadership positions can still contribute effectively to the well-being of the society.
“It is all about national interest first and not individual interests,” Mr Mbowe said. Among the new comers to the party who received their membership cards include Mr Mgana Msindai who served as the national Chairperson for CCM Regional Party leaders. “I don’t regret joining Chadema.
The CCM that I knew is not today’s. We need change,” Mr Msindai briefly said. Among the invited international representatives include CPP of Denmark, MDM of Mozambique, ODM of Kenya and another representative from Germany. Mr Nicolas Gumbo from ODM (Kenya) said the East African region prays for peace, stability and fair elections.
“For the first time in Tanzania, a closely contested election will be witnessed and each party must work hard. We need to see East Africa moving forward.
Don’t tear apart your country,” Mr Gumbo said. Delegates came from 11 zones namely, Victoria, North, Central, West, South and Coast. Others included Pemba, Unguja, Nyasa, Serengeti and Southern Highlands.