So Hon. Edward Lowassa, a prominent politician in Tanzania, whose name became a household noun in Tanzania prior and during CCM presidential candidate nomination, has joined Chadema – the main opposition party in the country. The reason for him joining Chadema is because his name did not pass through the CCM nomination process. This was a shock for him because his nomination campaigns must have billed billions of Tanzanian Shillings. Money was evident in each step of his campaign. Most of the known successful business people in the country supported him. I had a long conversation with one of his ‘die hard’ supporters and he arrogantly told me that “our team” – i.e. Lowassa’s team, he continued “has money, support, and organization”. When I asked him where is the money from? He arrogantly responded “look at me for example, I can easily contribute 100millions Tanzanian shillings and so what about our other supporters who are way richer than me?” Indeed “Team Lowassa” had it all in terms of resources and even “signatures”. But, shockingly, it obviously lacked “political wisdom” in understanding the politics within the CCM party and the role of the “path” that CCM still follows even if it often seems to be doing so unconsciously. (By “path” I mean path dependency- described in Historical Institutionalism – a theory in Political Science).
Well, to cut the long story short. Lowassa and his supporters (some of them in the CCM Central Committee and in NEC) were very much disappointed by the results. They delivered speeches, sang a song, etcetera to express their “faith” in him and disappointment to the party. That lasted for few hours- not even days. Things almost immediately changed after CCM announced its candidate – Dr. John Pombe Magufuli. Those CCM cadres who were supporting Lowassa joined in and celebrated the party’s results and decision. We saw live on TV, CCM cadres with jovial faces and party communication machinery swiftly took the moment with a harshtag #UmojaNiUshindi – i.e. unity is victory – meaning all of them have cleared their differences and are now joining hands to support their candidate- Dr. Magufuli.
I immediately thought and still do think that Lowassa popularity significantly went down after that. The force of gravity was evident. At this point as I write, how I wish we were scientifically/data driven? If we were doing polls, I guess the results would have shown the decline so clearly. And, I believe the decline has been ongoing in the last two weeks of waiting – when the public was eager to hear his fate or decision – many were anticipating what has now happening – him joining the opposition.
Now, let’s recall who actually tarnished Lowassa’s image – it was Chadema who listed him in its “Listi ya Mafisadi” – List of shame – corrupt people in the country”. So now Chadema has decided to clean him.
For me, I think this is the beginning of the death of Chadema- they brought Lowassa down and now he is bringing them down.
How is Chadema going to justify its decision? Why is the party so desperate for power to the point of such a compromise? How can the Central Committee betray its many followers who have painfully support the party out of its “anti-corruption” stance?
For me, I do not think Lowassa is going to bring any added value to the party- come October, I think Chadema will do even worse than expected due to this very decision. It is my prediction…and I can be corrected…and Time will do so!