TZ former premier quits CCM, joins opposition coalition to challenge the ruling party in October election

Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa

Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa

Edward Lowassa, Tanzania’s former Prime Minister and a ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) stalwart has officially quit his party and joined Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (UKAWA), an opposition coalition in hopes of challenging his dominant former party in the October general election.

The coalition is due to pick its nominee next week and political observers are wasting no time opining Lowassa might be the one, thereby reawakening his dream to replace President Jakaya Kikwete as the country’s next leader.

UKAWA made the announcement Monday in Dar es Salaam they had accepted the former premier whose chances of becoming the CCM nomine ended three weeks ago when he was shockingly dropped in the first round of the nomination contest.

Shortly after the announcement that is likely to send shockwaves within the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi, sources close to the coalition leadership told Afrika Reporter “he (Lowassa) has been fully accepted to join the coalition through Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo –(Chadema.)”

“There was some pre-consultation with him and the party and it is expected Lowassa will be nominated by Chadema to be the party’s flag bearer in the October election.”

The coalition formed by Chadema, Civic United Front (CUF), NCCR-Mageuzi and NLD agreed to pick one person for president, but each party in the coalition to put forth a candidate and coalition will chose one out of the four candidates.

NCCR-Mageuzi have picked a University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) lecturer, Dr George Kahangwa, as its presidential candidate to be considered for Ukawa nomination and CUF seconded Prof Ibrahim Lipumba.

NLD is in the process of nominating its candidate and Chadema has been tightlipped on their nomination process.

James Mbatia NCCR-Mageuzi Chairman and Co-founder told the media in Dar es Salaam Lowassa stands a better chance of beating Dr. John Magufuli, CCM nominee for president.

“The door is open for Mr. Lowassa to join the team. We want to make a new chapter and ensuring the opposition wins the October polls,” he said at the press conference.

Political Analyst Prof. Mwesige Baregu says the decision by Lowassa to join opposition have definitely changed the election atmosphere in the country.

If Lowassa is selected to be Ukawa presidential candidate he will be facing off against his longtime colleague Dr. John Pombe Magufuli , CCM presidential candidate.

Up until his surprising loss in CCM nomination contest, Lowassa was one of the favorites to win the party’s endorsement.

Lowassa resigned as prime minister in 2008 after being implicated in the Richmond energy scandal but was later cleared by the courts.