ARUSHA (AA) – Members of Tanzania’s main opposition bloc on Monday signed an agreement to field one candidate for president in next year’s general election.
“We are very serious on this. UKAWA coalition is aiming for interest of our nation,” co-chair of the UKAWA opposition coalition Freeman Mbowe told Anadolu Agency.
“Tanzania is more important than our political parties’ interest,” he said.
UKAWA member parties signed a memorandum of understanding to field and support one candidate in the presidency in the 2015 election.
“Opposition parties we have learned from our mistakes in previous general elections where our candidates lost to the ruling party CCM’s candidates because our votes were divided,” he said.
The memo, signed by the chairperson of four opposition parties, aims at defeating the ruling CCM party, which ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961, in the 2015 polls.
The signatories of the documents are Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), the Civic United (CUF), NCCR-Mageuzi and National League for Democracy (NLD).
CUF Chairman Ibrahim Lipumba described the agreement as an “important move” to removing the ruling party from power.
“We are now teaming up to conduct a national campaign against the proposed constitution because it does not answer common people’s interests,” Lipumba said.
UKAWA was officially formed in April 2014 to oppose the proposed constitution, which will be put to referendum in March.
CUF Secretary General Seif Sharif Ahmad, who is also the Zanzibar first Vice President, called for a “no vote” on the proposed constitution.
“Our own audit revealed that there was a dirty game; they (the ruling party’s government) did not get the two-third votes fairly from Zanzibar. We are now waiting for them in the referendum and I urge to vote no,” he said.
Another UKAWA Co-Chair, James Mbatia of NCCR-Mageuzi, called on other opposition political parties to join hands with UKAWA to remove CCM from power.
Chadema Secretary General Wilrod Slaa said the coalition have agreed on seven main points, including harmonization of manifesto, one candidacy in all positions in the next election, campaigning against the proposed constitution and coordination during the coming local election in December.
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