TZ ruling party loses another high profile member

Lowassa displaying his presidential nomination forms

Lowassa displaying his presidential nomination forms

Tanzania’s Labour and Employment Deputy Minister and outgoing Segerea MP, Dr Milton Makongoro Mahanga, a longtime ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) member has officially announced he is quitting the party to join the main opposition party Chadema.

Mahanga, a CCM stalwart becomes the fifth heavyweight member of the country’s dominant party to crossover to opposition in this election cycle.

Last week, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa joined Chadema and was nominated by the opposition coalition UKAWA to challenge CCM presidential contender Dr John Magufuli in the forthcoming general election.

Prior to joining Chadema, Mahanga had lost to Bona Kalua in preliminary Parliamentary nomination poll ahead of October general election and after his loss he told reporters “the election was merely undemocratic.”

He announced in a press conference in Dar es Salaam, Sunday he had made up his mind to join Chadema.

Tumain Makene, Chadema’s information officer said the party is ready to accept any member from CCM only on condition if they will abide by party regulations.

He said more outgoing CCM lawmakers are seeking exit door to enter Chadema, “and we respect their decision but they have also to respect and observe laws, rules and regulations that govern us.”

James Lembeli, legislator for Kahama constituency (CCM) and Ester Bulaya (Special Seats –CCM) have also crossed-over to join the opposition—Chadema.

With all these high profile defections, especially Lowassa’s, political commentators say this time around the opposition stands a good chance to beat CCM to the presidency come October 25.