Another TZ former premier quits ruling party to join opposition coalition, presidential campaigns officially begin

Former Tanzanian Premier under Benjamin Mkapa says he is joining opposition to lend them his support to ensure CCM is defeated in October

Former Tanzanian Premier under Benjamin Mkapa says he is joining opposition to lend them his support to ensure CCM is defeated in October

Tanzania’s political landscape took yet another turn Saturday after former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye officially defected to the opposition.

Former Prime Minister Sumaye, is Tanzania’s second ex-premier to leave the the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to join opposition coalition UKAWA, the alliance is made up of four political parties; Chadema, CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi and NLD.

Sumaye joins fellow former premier Edward Lowassa and longtime member of the ruling party who left CCM to join Chadema a few weeks ago and has since been endorsed by UKAWA member parties to represent the alliance in the October poll.

Sumaye speaks to the press Saturday, as Lowassa (blue shirt on Sumaye's right) looks on

Sumaye speaks to the press Saturday, as Lowassa (blue shirt on Sumaye’s right) and other opposition officials look on

Frederick Sumaye, who served during Benjamin Mkapa’s administration for 10 years, said he was joining the opposition coalition to bring his experience and support to bear to ensure UKAWA defeats CCM at the polls and deliver meaningful change to Tanzanians.

On why he chose to quit Chama Cha Mapinduzi, Sumaye cited corruption and undemocratic practices within the party’s internal electoral process that have weakened the party and boosted the opposition at the same time.

“It’s so difficult to withhold the ongoing wave of change. I believe Ukawa will win this year’s elections because people are fed-up of empty promises and all they need is change,” he said Saturday.

The two former prime ministers are not the only ones to quit Tanzania’s ruling dominant party, accord to local press, nearly two dozen CCM top politicians including former members of cabinet, and lawmakers, have left CCM this election cycle and observers say the exodus will go on as the political winds continue to blow in opposition direction.

“Welcome brother Frederick Sumaye to true change. Let’s unite and stand with Tanzanians in this journey of change to dethrone CCM through UKAWA,”  Lowassa, the coalition’s flab bearer wrote on Facebook adding “there’s no one who can stand in the way of the power of the people in making decision now and most importantly on October 25th this year.”

Meanwhile, political campaigns have officially began, there are 8 candidates vying for president, but the spotlight is squarely on CCM’s John Magufuli and Chandema and UKAWA’s Edward Lowassa.

For the first time since the return to multiparty system in 1992, the ruling party faces fierce competition in UKAWA and Lowassa.