Tanzania's opposition parties name presidential candidate

Edward Lowassa to head opposition

Edward Lowassa, originally seen as the possible presidential candidate for Tanzania's ruling party, has instead been chosen as the presidential candidate for the opposition coalition, Coalition of Defenders of the People's Constitution (UKAWA). The largest party in the opposition is CHADEMA.

Lowassa officially crossed party lines in July when his name was not on the short list of presidential candidates for the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

The CCM has also selected a surprise candidate, John Magufuli, minister of works in the present government. He was one of a short list of three, which included two women. Magufuli has chosen a woman, Samai Hassan Suluhu from Zanzibar, as his running mate.

Lowassa was prime minister from 2005-2008 under the outgoing president Jakaya Kikwete. It was thought that he had a strong chance of getting the CCM nomination to succeed Kikwete, who has to stand down after serving the maximum two terms as president. However Lowassa was involved in an energy supply corruption scandal and resigned as prime minister in 2008. He has always claimed his innocence.

The main opposition party, CHADEMA, previously had Lowassa on its “List of Shame” but is now saying that nothing has ever been proved against him. It is anticipated that Lowassa will bring many of his followers from CCM into the opposition coalition, giving it a stronger chance of winning the presidential elections.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Tanzania are on 25 October.

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