CHAMA Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) on Tuesday closed the preliminary stage of its Zanzibar presidential aspirant nomination, with all 32 candidates meeting all the criteria and the 4pm deadline.
Zanzibar CCM Special Committee's Secretary of Organisation Casian Galous Nyimbo, speaking to reporters here, described the exercise as smooth and successful, charging that with the exception of one, all 32 members who collected the forms returned them for further inter-party process.
Mtoni House of Representative Hussein Ibrahim Makungu announced his withdrawal from the race last weekend, saying: "After perusing these forms, I have come to conclusion that I'm not yet fit for the job...let me go back to the house of representatives."
Mr Nyimbo commended all the 32 aspirants for high discipline display as none of them had flawed the party's laid down rules.
"All of them came here quietly without pomp...with hardly three colleagues in their escort," he said.
The closure of the 16-day exercise heralds to almost two weeks of firm scrutiny before the party's two-day General Meeting convenes in the capital Dodoma on July 11 to endorse its flag bearer in the October 2020 general elections.
The ruling party started issuing the nomination papers on June 15, 2020, with the party Deputy Secretary General, Zanzibar, Dr Abdallah Juma Abdallah inviting all "courageous" party members to collect the forms for Zanzibar and union presidencies.
And, Zanzibaris from almost all walks of lives—seasoned politicians, civil servants, peasants, retirees and even sportsmen—responded positively, thronging CCM Kisiwandui main offices to pick the forms for the Isles presidency, with none expressing interest in the union post.
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Mgeni Hassan Juma and Labour, Empowerment, Elderly, Women and Children, Minister Maudline Cyrus Castico are among five women who picked and successfully returned the dully filled forms.
Other daring ladies are Mwantum Mussa Sultan, Hasna Attai and Fatma Kombo Masoud. The fierce competition for the eighth-phase presidency has also attracted three children of former Zanzibar presidents.
The entrants seeking to try their fathers' shoes are Ambassador Ali Abeid Karume, Mussa Aboud Jumbe and Dr Hussein Mwinyi, the sons of founding president Abeid Amani Karume, second-phase president Aboud Jumbe Mwinyi and third-phase's Ali Hassan Mwinyi, respectively.
While Defense and National Services Minister Dr Mwinyi also belongs to the group of three ministers in the union cabinet in the race, Ambassador Karume is as well one of three members of the revolutionary council.
Other aspirants from the union cabinet are Water Minister Professor Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa and Home Affairs Deputy Minister Hamad Yusuf Masauni.
And, Minister of State, Second Vice-President's Office Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Tourism Minister Mmanga Mjengo Mjawiri and Ms Castico are serving ministers aspiring for the presidency.
In the race also are former Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha and retired Major General Issa Suleiman Nassoro.
Former footballer and Zanzibar national team player Salum Hashim Salum also joined the race for the country's top job, pledging massive transformation in sports, which he described as lucrative and reliable source of youth employment.
Amani Representative Rashid Ali Juma and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning Khamis Mussa Omar collected the forms in an attempt to succeed Dr Ali Mohamed Shein who is scheduled to complete his two five-year terms later this year.
Opening the doors for the presidential form collection, Dr Abdallah warned the corruption tainted individuals to remain at bay.
He invited all party members wishing to join the race to thoroughly evaluate themselves, saying: "CCM is the party of the people, and forms are available to all members."
The ruling party issued compulsory criteria for all aspirants, with support for the union and democracy appearing on the top.
All candidates were required to traverse at least three regions in Unguja and Pemba to solicit support from at least 250 party members.
And, according to Mr Nyimbo all the presidential hopefuls accomplished the requisite, with some reaching all regions.
The presidential aspirants now wait for the rigorous scrutiny under a series of party meetings, which start with a two-day meeting of Zanzibar National Executive Committee's Special Secretariat today.
CCM Zanzibar's Security and Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet on July 4 to deliberate and give opinions on all the 31 presidential aspirants before forwarding its report to NEC's central committee, which will convene on July 9, 2020.
According to the party's timetable, NEC will on July 10, 2020 elect Zanzibar presidential candidate prior to the two-day General Meeting, which starts on July 11 to endorse the NEC chosen candidate.