By The Citizen
Tanzania President John Magufuli will respect the constitutional presidential term limit, CCM secretary-general Bashiru Ally said Thursday.
“You have worked closely with the people, and you will be voted into office by the same people. You are not the kind of a person with a tendency to cling on to power, and therefore this is your last term,” he said.
“You are neither the life chairman of CCM nor Tanzania’s president for life. You are, to all intents and purposes, walking in the footsteps of Tanzania’s founding president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Party-hoppers and people pretending to be sultans should be left to be what they are,” Dr Ally added.
He made the remarks shortly after Dr Magufuli had collected nomination forms at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) headquarters in Dodoma.
Dr Ally did not name names, but it was clear that his remarks were a broadside directed at Dr Magufuli’s likely rivals in this year’s elections.
Candidates who have so far been endorsed by their parties to contest the Union presidency include Prof Ibrahim Lipumba (CUF), Mr Tundu Lissu (Chadema) and Mr Bernard Membe (ACT-Wazalendo). The list also includes Mr Seif Maalim Seif (AAFP), Mr Philip Fumbo (DP) and Mr Leopard Mahona (NRA).
Candidates seeking to succeed Dr All Mohammed Shein as President of Zanzibar include Mr Seif Shariff Hamad (ACT-Wazalendo) and Dr Hussein Mwinyi (CCM). Mr Hamad will be contesting the Zanzibar presidency for the sixth consecutive time after unsuccessful attempts in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015.
Prof Lipumba has contested the Union presidency four times so far in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. He skipped the 2015 presidential election in protest at the decision by the opposition coalition Ukawa to nominate former prime minister Edward Lowassa as its candidate following his defection to Chadema from CCM.
Dr Bashiru’s remarks came at a time when some CCM stalwarts have been calling on President Magufuli to seek a third term after his second and final tenure ends.
They include former Nkasi MP Ali Keissy of CCM, who once asked Parliament to pass a resolution that would make Dr Magufuli president for life.
National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai told Mr Keissy that the matter could be debated, and would be handled by the next parliament. Other staunch proponents of a third term for Dr Magufuli include former CCM lawmakers Deo Sanga and Juma Nkamia.
However, Dr Magufuli has reiterated that he would respect the Constitution, and would not extend his time in office “even by a single day”.
Speaking in Dodoma yesterday after picking up nomination forms, President Magufuli defended his decision to seek reelection, saying he intended to protect and preserve achievements of his administration.
He listed some of the successes of his government as improvement in education, infrastructure development, an increase in the supply of clean and safe water, implementation of the Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project (JNHPP) and construction of the standard gauge railway.
Dr Magufuli said Dodoma had been transformed during his first five years in office, and development witnessed in the city includes installation of traffic lights and construction of multi-storey buildings. He added that over Shoo billion and Sh600 billion had been set aside in the current budget for the construction of no kilometres of tarmac roads and the proposed Msalato Airport, respectively.
“I’m intent on completing these projects. I’m not sure if those dressed in colours other than CCM’s will preserve and sustain these achievements.
“I’m worried that ships that have been built to ply Lake Victoria sill be auctioned off, bridges destroyed and gold will be mined by their relatives,” President Magufuli said.
Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Dr Nlagufuli’s government had played a pivotal role in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates through improved health services in addition to improving the supply of clean and safe water and introducing free education.
At NEC headquarters, Dr Magufuli was presented with four sets of Form No. 8A, each comprising ten pages. Presidential aspirants are required to seek at least 200 guarantors in ten regions, including at least two in Zanzibar.
“The forms include documents that you are required to sign before a High Court judge accepting and promising compliance with the 2020 General Election Code of Ethics,” NEC chairman Semistocles Kaijage said.
Others who accompanied Dr Magufuli to NEC headquarters included Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, CCM Women’s Wing chairperson Gaudensia Kabaka and National Assembly speaker Job Ndugai.