ARUSHA, Jun 18 – The current President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Justice Augustino Ramadhani has joined the race to be the Tanzanian ruling party’s presidential candidate.
Justice Ramadhani, former Chief Justice of Tanzania, joins more than 30 other candidates from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in the race to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete who completes his mandatory five-year two terms in October.
The CCM has ruled since independence in 1961 and is considered foregone that whoever wins its nomination on July 12 is all but certain of taking office after Kikwete.
The former Chief Justice has a very unusual combination of being a jurist, army officer, pianist, pastor and a Christian from the 95 per cent dominated Muslims in the tiny Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar, which united with mainland Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
If he succeeds, he will only be the second Union President to hail from Zanzibar after Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-1995).
“I have the intellectual resources that could play a pivotal role in helping the country fight all problems bedeviling the country. I do not fear anybody in this race because I retired from the army with the rank of Brigadier General, and it is impossible for a senior member of the army to fear people,’’ he quipped after picking up the nomination forms in Tanzania’s capital city of Dodoma yesterday.
Unlike the majority of CCM cadres announcing their presidential ambition in pomp, colour and style–not to mention supporters escorting them as they picked nomination forms and during their rallies–Judge Ramadhani was flanked by his wife Saada, his cousin Louis Majaliwa and a few members of his family.
“I have faithfully worked for this country for more than 40 years,” he said. “I have never solicited or received any form of bribe and never have I been implicated in any corruption scandal,” he was quoted by the media to have said.
The former UN Deputy Secretary General Dr Asha-Rose Migiro is also among front runners; aiming to become Tanzania’s first woman president. Also in the list are former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa and incumbent Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe.
Other notable candidates include Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, former Speaker Samuel Sitta and Makongoro Nyerere, son of the country’s first president, Julius Nyerere.
Analysts believe that the disjointed opposition would struggle to mount a challenge by fielding a single presidential candidate in the Oct. 25 election. Parliamentary and local government elections will take place simultaneously.
While ruled by a single party for more than half a century, Tanzania has seen peaceful transitions to different presidents since multi-party politics returned in 1995.
(Story by the East African News Agency – EANA)