Mbeya — The MP for Mbeya Urban, Mr Joseph Mbilinyi, alias Sugu, has sent a strong message to his political rivals who plan to vie for his seat in 2020 to carry out research first.
Mr Mbilinyi garnered 108, 566 out of 166, 256 votes during the 2015 General Election, against 57, 690 votes collected by his opponent, making him the MP with the highest number of votes in the Tanzanian Parliament.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with The Citizen, Mr Mbilinyi said his CCM opponents had shown interest in gunning for his seat, but Chadema had already laid groundwork to ensure votes from the constituency will contribute the opposition's victory in 2020.
"We are not troubled by who will be the MP... our concentration is how votes from the constituency will be protected in order to remove CCM from power," he said.
"Mbeya Urban voters appreciated Chadema's outstanding service in 2010 by making me the most highly voted MP in the country in 2015. Even presidential votes doubled in 2015 as compared to 2010... ..the same will happen in 2020, that is why I urge CCM to carry out research."
CCM cadre Dr Tulia Ackson is said to be one of the persons eying the constituency in 2020.
In June 14, last year, Dr Ackson told reporters in the region that she will present her name for the 2020 parliamentary elections, noting, however, that the constituency might be split.
"The fact is that I will contest the seat... .but all will be clear later after establishing whether voters in the said constituency require another MP or whether they are are comfortable with the incumbent representative," she was quoted as saying.
"CCM also has its procedures when it comes to nomination of candidates for various positions, something which will also be considered," she added.
Mbeya Urban is one of the six constituencies in Mbeya Region that fell under the opposition for a second consecutive year.
Kyela, Rungwe, Busokelo, Mbeya Rural, Mbarali and Chunya are represented by the ruling CCM.
In spite of the fact that CCM leads in many suburban constituencies and councils, Chadema remains in charge in Mbeya Urban Constituency and its councils.
The trend has not sat well with CCM bigwigs to the extent that they have vowed to wrest it from the opposition in 2020 through the ballot box.