ELECTIONS are a process not an event, and so are political campaigns. Dr John Magufuli perfected the process and eventually reaped abundant and well-deserved rewards.
He might have endured a stiff battle in the run for his first presidential term, but his re-election bid proved to be a walk in the park, thanks to his excellent selfless services to the country and the citizens.
A splendid performance in the last five years saw his win rate climb from 58.4 per cent in the 2015 polls to an astonishing 84 per cent in just concluded election.
A brave and selfless leader, Dr Magufuli made a lot of difference, orchestrating and supervising praiseworthy social economic reforms, which laid the foundation and paved the way for his landslide re-election win.
Dr Magufuli’s excellent track record in reforming the government and the country at large won the hearts of Tanzanians. From villagers to urban dwellers, poor, middle to rational high earners, he was obviously the leader the country had been praying for.
The no-nonsense Head of State dedicated much of his time touring the country, listening to wananchi and attending their problems with great efficiency.
Therefore, this year’s campaigns were hardly expected to be a tight affair for CCM. Dr Magufuli had cleared the way not for himself but the party’s cadres who vied for parliamentary and council seats.
However, he wouldn’t take anything for granted. He frequently reminded party cadres that elections are only won through the ballots, hence, he tasked party leaders and members to work for every single vote until the last minute.
When the National Electoral Commission (NEC) blew the whistle for the general election campaigns, the ruling CCM party chose Saturday, August 29, as the date to launch and kick start the two-month campaign marathon.
Dodoma’s Jamhuri Stadium was the venue as Dr Magufuli officially embarked into the 60-day trail of selling the party’s manifesto and apparently, a ceaseless trot around the country’s key battlegrounds.
From the onset, the CCM presidential flag-bearer was very organised and enthusiastic, succinctly conveying his campaign’s top-line messages.
He insisted to voters that CCM is the only party capable of bringing Tanzanians the much-envisaged socio-economic prosperity.
While recalling major achievements registered by his government in the previous five year, he assured voters that the party was better positioned to implement all promises that have been listed in the new 2020/2025 Election Manifesto.
Such were his key messages throughout his campaign trails. He boasted those two key weapons; promises delivered in his first term and promises listed in the new 2020/2025 CCM manifesto.
Massive crowds gracing his campaign rallies and great voters enthusiasm were clear that it was the hallmark of Dr Magufuli’s reelection bid. He and his lieutenants; presidential running mate, Samia Suluhu Hassan and Primer Minister Kassim Majaliwa pulled off successful campaigns as they trotted across the country.
From Mtwara to Kigoma, Arusha to Kagera, Dr Magufuli and campaign teams were received with mammoth, passionate crowds. Some were record-breaking political rallies.
Highly supported by ex-leaders
A host of national leaders and political gurus spiced up Dr Magufuli’s campaigns. Such is the wealth that the ruling party boasts. Former President Mzee Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete were joined by ex-prime ministers; Cleopa Msuya and John Malecela to drum support for Magufuli’s re-election.
Dr Kikwete, who passed the baton to Dr Magufuli, described his successor, as a reliable and trustworthy leader who deserved the second term.
He said that the fifth phase government had done a lot at national, regional and district levels by executing projects which aimed at promoting social, economic and political development.
“Magufuli has proven that he is a brave captain who led the implementation of the manifesto at a high level while other works are in progress,” he said.
Mzee Malecela, alias Tingatinga, and Msuya, a symbolic leader among the Pare population, braved their advanced age and health problems as they graced JPM’s campaign rallies in Dodoma and Mwanga respectively. Both spoke highly of the incumbent leader and endorsed his candidacy.
Former Premier Msuya, who served in that position twice from 1980 to 1983 under the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and again between 1994 and 1995 during the reign of former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi stressed that Dr Magufuli deserved re- election because he had demonstrated strong leadership.
“You are all witnesses of the changes brought to the country during the fifth phase leadership, because they brought significant impact on people’s lives especially poor Tanzanians,” Msuya said, adding that Dr Magufuli has opened doors for every person who engages in various economic activities to benefit.
“He has done a lot of things which will benefit the present and future generations,” said Msuya, who had travelled all the way from Usangi to Mwanga to attend Magufuli’s presidential rally.
Former leaders have always played a key role in the country’s elections. During the previous three general elections; 2005, 2010 and 2015, third-phase President, the late Benjamin Mkapa was instrumental in CCM’s triumphs.
His rich tone and authoritative presence was greatly missed among political enthusiasts. He suddenly walked away, sadly at a time the country needed him most. Not that the party and its candidate were uncertain of victory but he was such a patron who would get things moving when they appeared to be stuck.
He was one of the few influential leaders who safeguard his party’s as well as national affairs. While resting in his eternal home, Mr Ben would obviously be pleased that his party got this one done in style, posting a near clean sweep of all leadership positions.
Tremor for opposition
Since the reintroduction of multiparty politics in the country in 1992, Northern zone regions have proved to be CCM’s toughest hunting grounds. One could rightly christen Kilimanjaro and Arusha opposition’s hotbed.
The two regions have produced more opposition leaders than the rest of Tanzanian regions down the years. But the Magufuli effect that gripped almost every citizen on the land neither spared electorate residing in these regions, nor in other regions such Mbeya, Mara and Kigoma, where the opposition had thrived in the past.
The huge crowds that graced Magufuli’s campaign trails gave a hint of the changing face of the country’s multiparty politics, so were the outcomes of the October 28th polls as the ruling CCM swept to a landslide victory.