Fifth Tanzanian President’s scrutinised term resumes
For the first time in the history of the East African country, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has faced its biggest threat to its decades-long stranglehold on power.
Mugufuli, until his ascendancy to the Presidency the Minister of Works, won a tightly-contested poll against former Prime Minister, Edward Lowassa, garnering 58 percent of the total vote to Lowassa’s 40 percent.
Prior to the general election, Mugufuli had in a surprise development emerged the winner of the CCM’s primary polls ahead of a number of party bigwigs, among them Lowassa, which prompted the latter’s move to dump the party and join the rival Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (UKAWA).
He contested the presidential poll on the ticket of the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), a coalition of four parties.
In another unprecedented development, never has the East Africa’s second-biggest economy ran a poll as contestable as the one held a fortnight ago.
The second-placed Lowassa has rejected the outcome of the poll citing irregularities, an accusation which was equally dismissed as baseless, untruthful and unsubstantiated.
Lowassa earlier claimed he had won with 62 percent of the vote.
However, the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) dismissed allegations of rigging, ruled a recount thus paving way for the inauguration that was held on Thursday.
In a more disturbing development, chaotic elections held in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar have thrust the island into a political crisis.
It was the first time in the history of Zanzibar that an election has been scrapped.
The poll had been marred by gross irregularities, including rigging and physical fights between rival election commissioners.
The semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar elects its own President and members to its sub-national legislature, the Zanzibar House of Representatives.
On the back of these unprecedented developments, analysts projected a tough tenure for Magufuli.
“Never has the country, and the ruling party, been beset by such problems since the advent of independence,” socio-political commentator, James Bendera, pointed out.
“Magufuli faces a formidable task uniting his party, containing some tension sparked by a contested election resolving the impasse in Zanzibar as well as implementing pre-election promises such as creating jobs and providing free education.
“His (Magufuli) is likely to be the most scrutinized term for any president in recent years,” added Bendera.
Magufuli also has to address Constitutional reforms.
His predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete, promised a new Constitution but failed to deliver on it during his two terms.
A new Constitution was expected to have been adopted before the general election but to no avail.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, marking the endorsement of the 56-year-old, prominent African leaders in politics, religion and business converged in the commercial capital of Dar-es-Salaam to witness Magufuli’s inauguration.
There was a significant presence of the diplomatic corps as well as representatives from international blocs.
Among prominent politicians were African Union (AU) Chairman and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, AU Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairman Ian Khama, who is also President of Botswana, as as well as eight Presidents from the continent, notably South Africa’s Jacob Zuma of South African and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari.
Also present were recently-elected Presidents- Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique, Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Hage Geingob of Namibia and Lesotho’s Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
Foreign countries represented at the event include Denmark, Finland, France, India, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States as well as representatives of international and regional organizations from the United Nations and the European Union.
Prominent church leader, Temitope Balogun (TB) Joshua, made a surprise appearance.
– CAJ News
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