It has been a barn-burner of an election campaign in Tanzania. We’ve seen high profile cross-party defections, dueling op-eds in the foreign press, mudslinging on Whatsapp, push-ups on the campaign trail, andmuch more. It has been the most vibrant campaign season since the onset of multiparty democracy in 1995. All this comes to an end on Sunday (Oct. 25), as voters will elect new leaders to govern the country for the next five years.
The question for the electorate is whether to give the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) another term in office or vote in the opposition for the first time in the country’s history. Both sides arepromising change (paywall). CCM’s presidential candidate, John Magufuli, a works minister in the outgoing administration, has positioned himself as someone who can get things done.
His rival, Edward Lowassa, is a former CCM prime minister who defected to the main opposition party, Chadema, in August. Running under the rubric of the opposition coalition Ukawa, Lowassa is betting that the electorate will see his experience as what’s needed to propel Tanzania into the future. Both gentlemen have barnstormed the country, attracting huge crowds.