Tanzania: Uncertainty Surrounds Membe's Candidacy

Dar es Salaam — Bernard Membe's presidential ambitions in this year's General Election could be hanging in the balance even as ACT-Wazalendo remains tight-lipped over the subject.

However, Mr Membe tweeted via his @BenMembe handle that he remains the opposition party's presidential candidate. "I'm the only candidate for the Union presidential election on the ACT-Wazalendo ticket. I'm the one who was given the party's election manifesto so that I can market it to voters across the country," he tweeted.

He said rumours going around that the party was supporting Chadema's presidential candidate (Mr Tundu Lissu) were untrue.

Mr Membe was endorsed as ACT-Wazalendo's presidential candidate for the Union in early August and subsequently received the approval of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on August 25.

He went on to kick off his election campaigns on September 2, 2020 but after campaigning for only three days in Lindi Urban, Kilwa South and Rufiji, he took a break.

He later came out and revealed that he had been in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on a private business.

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Despite promising that he would return to the campaign trail soon, he has not done so, raising questions over what he was up to.

On Monday, ACT-Wazalendo national chairman Seif Sharif Hamad said he had full trust that the Chadema presidential candidate, Mr Tundu Lissu would be elected President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

"I trust he will be elected as President for Tanzania and I will win as President of Zanzibar," Mr Hamad, who is vying for Zanzibar's Presidency on the ACT-Wazalendo ticket, told a public rally at Mwanakombo grounds in Zanzibar.

A few days ago, Mr Lissu told a public rally in Zanzibar that it was an open secret that Mr Hamad was the preferred presidential candidate for Zanzibar. This was despite the fact that Chadema has also fielded its own candidate for Zanzibar's presidency.

Both ACT-Wazalendo and Chadema have repeatedly said that there were discussions going on between them on how they could join their forces together in an attempt to defeat CCM during October 28, 2020 General Election.

ACT-Wazalendo Party leader Zitto Kabwe said yesterday that so far, the parties have completed all the discussions regarding how they should cooperate during this year's elections.

Asked on whether Mr Hamad's support for Mr Lissu represented the official position for ACT-Wazalendo, he neither confirmed nor confuted.

"We have agreed on all issues. We have reached an agreement on all aspects, from presidential candidates to councillorship positions. Our official position will be announced at Mwembeyanga grounds in Dar es Salaam during a public rally that will be held on October 3, 2020," he said.

The Mwembeyanga rally, said Mr Zitto, will bring together not only Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo leaders but also those from other parties that were also part of the agreement for a unified opposition.

He said the agreement also includes streamlining the parties' manifestoes and on a number of other issues that need the opposition to field a joint strategy.

Asked on when Mr Membe would return to the campaign trail, Mr Zitto said he (Mr Membe) would personally speak about that.

Mr Membe could not be reached on his phone yesterday. He was expected to address editors today, but the meeting was called off and no reason was issued.

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