In this context, “The Presidency” belongs to CCM in 2015…

Asha D. Abinallah
15 min readDec 23, 2023


As a hobby, I sometimes do Political analysis, which I did on February 19, 2013, at a time when the political conversations were heated. The 2015 elections were so special in power dynamics in so many ways. One of the most powerful displays. Heading towards the elections, the leading opposition then (CHADEMA), was very confident that they were going to win the elections in 2015.

I, on my end, saw it differently; I then decided to produce my analysis and share to the world. I of course received a backlash from the majority of the opposition because they did not want to believe or dilute that which was my observations. When the 2015 general elections arrived, exactly what I had presented was what happened. I was right by not less than 95%.

Eight years later, I have a calling to do an analysis of my take on the 2025 elections. I chose to publish in a few days at The Chanzo. This article is courtesy of CHATGPT translation and I have not had time to review it up close. I am reserving this article originally written in Swahili at JamiiForums in English through this medium account. If you are a fan of Tanzanian Politics, enjoy the read…

A screenshot of the thread on JamiiForums written February 2013, accessible at the forum


In general, as humans, we usually have various expectations, and these expectations depend on indicators that enable them to materialize. We differ in interpreting these indicators, especially when they are subtle! Although there are other indicators that clearly show whether the expectations are favored or not by all observers. Due to the trends, news, and events that constantly occur in our country, especially those related to political issues, they lead me to provide this perspective in this article.

It is evident that a large number of Tanzanians (and even some other nations) are eagerly awaiting to see and witness the activities of the 2015 general elections. For the first time in the history of Tanzania since gaining independence 51 years ago, there will be the largest number of activists, enthusiasts, party supporters, and ordinary citizens interested and eagerly anticipating to know the fate of the election and whether the ruling party will retain power or if a different party will take over. It is my hope that even the number of voters will increase compared to previous years.

There is no doubt that the 2015 general election will be intense, interesting, and perhaps more important than any other elections before. It is an election where the main focus will be to eagerly see who will win the presidential seat. In the minds of many, it might not matter or have much influence on who the president will be; the powerful aspect is to see which party the president will be affiliated with. Will the Chama Cha Mapinduzi still hold the country, or will the Opposition take over? The answer to this question will be fully revealed after the 2015 election!

However, despite the fact that after the general election, we will have the complete answer, the truth remains that there are things/indicators/actions of the respective parties that paint a picture for activists, politicians, enthusiasts, and supporters; indicating which party appears to be the leader and has a chance of winning that seat in the election.

Each person from these mentioned groups has criteria and reasons that lead them to believe that victory belongs to a particular party. Therefore, it’s not surprising to encounter two people with different opinions, each believing that their idea is correct. In this matter, which can shed light and provide a reason to believe one over the other, is due to their reasons, which they will specify with arguments that deserve to be substantial.

The preparations and strategies to take the top leadership of the government are complex and well-calculated. These preparations are not done in a day, not done in isolation, and cannot succeed by chance. It requires the strength of the party, the strength of party leadership, and, most importantly, the strength of the members who are the public and have the responsibility to place someone in that seat through voting during the election.

Therefore, there are three groups (From my perspective) that give an idea of how the election will be:

A. The group of voters (the citizens)

B. The group of Chama Cha Mapinduzi, (the ruling party)

C. The group of the main opposition, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo


History Repeating Itself (especially from 2005)

There are all indications that the history of 2005 may repeat itself, i.e., many Tanzanians may have registered to vote, but only a few will actually cast their votes. However, it should be noted that this can be avoided or significantly reduced if: First, opposition parties, media, and democracy activists can effectively encourage citizens to register more forcefully. Second, CHADEMA can present a strong, well-known candidate with sufficient experience who can withstand and compete effectively with the presidential candidate of the opposing party.

Non-commitment of Voters

Many Tanzanians who are voters and have voter ID cards for the purpose of registration are not affiliated with any party; only a few are members of a specific party. So far, we see that CHADEMA’s strength in increasing voter turnout lies in attracting those who are already members of CCM and those without party affiliation. The joy derived from successfully attracting many CCM members to join CHADEMA gives the impression that their strategy is focused on ensuring that CCM members switch to CHADEMA rather than on building loyalties by attracting those without a party.

Fear of Change

Most votes are in rural areas, and many of them support CCM, although the support is decreasing. This is not only because they lack awareness or civic education but also because, by default, people in rural areas tend to be conservative. They dislike change and fear it, believing that another leadership could be even more destructive.

Combining this with the fact that since independence, many have lived self-sufficient lives (shelter, food, clothing), they are not deeply affected by economic problems like urban residents who depend on a formal, monetary, and market-based economy for their daily lives. In rural areas, CCM will continue to win the presidency, and if the opposition gains votes in rural areas, it is likely because the residents are attracted to a candidate who is educated, competent, etc. It could be a prestigious figure among them (such as Mnyaturu), demonstrating that they too have educated individuals shining in the political arena, not just those from specific ethnic groups like Wanyakyusa, Wachaga, Wahaya, etc


There are many ways in which the CCM government has failed and continues to fail its citizens, with incidents that are disheartening, distressing, and discouraging every passing day! There is no relief anywhere, and the government seems to have mastered the art of oppressing the citizens everywhere and anytime! This has been happening all along and continues for several years now.

First, let’s ask ourselves how CCM has managed to survive up to this point?! Let’s put aside all that and start with where we got the “List of Shame” from Dr. Slaa, a list that shook things up and led top leaders to file a lawsuit against Dr. Slaa — a case that has not succeeded to this day. That list was compelling enough to be a rallying point for citizens and activists to oust CCM in the 2010 elections. But it didn’t happen…

In the past decades, there has been transparency to the extent that the whole society knows about the weaknesses of the CCM government, especially rampant corruption such as Swiss bank accounts, dubious mining contracts like Buzwagi, Magumashi, and extreme corruption in practices like the issues of EPA and Richmond.

There has been an increase in incidents in society against activists and opposition parties. We have seen how the government has been using the security forces to destroy the very security of citizens, and it is disheartening to note that we have lost people in society due to oppression, negligence, or lack of attention in the operations of these security forces. Conditions are deteriorating in almost all institutions that the government is responsible for managing and ensuring that conditions are good and services are provided to the citizens. Education, economy, health, security, and many other aspects are declining, while the government continues to self-examine along with its top leaders. Their extra effort and strength are directed towards ensuring they remain in the top leadership. This makes the government do everything possible to succeed.

Worse still, there has been an increase in the issue of “religious polarization,” causing a lack of peace, destruction of property, and loss of lives of citizens and religious leaders. Hatred between Muslims and Christians is being fueled, and the government, due to its weakness, has utterly failed to control and stop this religious polarization. The current situation indicates that the future and security of the country are highly uncertain. Sad.

They do not care about hurting the citizens; they do not care about the implications for politicians, activists, enthusiasts, and observers. It leads to making decisions that are confusing, like debating whether the Bunge sessions should be viewed ‘Live’ and then changing the stance again. The government also makes decisions that are fundamentally and logically incomprehensible, such as the dissolution of POAC. Considering the importance and significance of the committee, which was examining and monitoring assets worth trillions of shillings, it is hard to believe that only someone lacking intelligence would propose or accept its dissolution; otherwise, very substantial reasons should be presented.

However, despite all these weak actions, the truth (from my perspective) remains that, given the current political situation, combined with the actions and attitudes of citizens and some leaders, as well as events, makes me believe that in 2015, CCM still has the ability to be the leader in the presidential election, even if by a small percentage compared to previous elections. This is due to the following reasons:

They are Well-Prepared

Preparation does not depend on the method used, whether it is dirty/clean, legal/illegal, fair/unfair — what matters is how well you plan to achieve the goals of those plans. The CCM government has been adept at creating an enabling environment to win the upcoming general election. They have adequately self-sustained themselves in various fields, thanks to the cold war they have with their main opposition, CHADEMA. They are focused on undermining the strength of CHADEMA in every possible way, especially by exploiting their weaknesses.

Their leaders have been working hard and have been able to do the job diligently. We have seen how CHADEMA’s allegations of entering into agreements with donors for billions of shillings (I don’t know where this case ended); We have seen the issue of Dr. Slaa’s CCM card being widely spread in the media, which initially was taken lightly and eventually diverted the attention of some CHADEMA leaders by solving the problem instead of focusing on other essential and beneficial aspects of party activities.

They are on Top of Institutions

CCM has been in control of various important institutions that have a wide impact on society. If we look at the esteemed Parliament, we can see how it has been run according to the wishes of Chama Cha Mapinduzi. There have been many theatrics in Parliament, leading to extreme blame on Madame Anne Makinda and Job Ndugai due to actions that dissatisfied many MPs and citizens in general. Recently, two committees have been dissolved, the Defense, Security, and Foreign Affairs Committee led by Edward Lowassa, and the Public Organizations Accounts Committee (POAC) led by Zitto Zuberi Kabwe, which was completely dissolved. The timing of these events raises a lot of suspicion, especially considering that the reports of these committees were due a few weeks after their dissolution. It is noteworthy that Zitto’s final report led to a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, resulting in the suspension of 8 ministers.

The Constitution (Current) Favors the Incumbent Government

The new constitution was supposed to be in place by at least 2010 to have at least five years of governance under the new constitution before reaching 2015, so that many changes would have already occurred in all areas, helping CHADEMA and other opposition parties. Many aspects of the current constitution embrace and protect the positions of the current government due to the responsibilities outlined according to the constitution. Outside the heavy and sensitive positions of the President (such as the Head of State and government; Commander-in-Chief of the security and defense forces; authority to nationalize any property; responsible for appointing key leaders, including the Chief Justice, heads of security and defense forces, etc.), the President is also responsible for appointing the Electoral Commission of the United Republic, which is crucial in major elections.

Flaws of President Jakaya Kikwete

In every flaw, every corruption, every decay, blame has always gone to President JK. This has led many activists, politicians, citizens, and enthusiasts to declare it the ‘Weakness of Kikwete’. This statement gives the impression that in the minds of many, all the problems we have only existed after JK took office and did not exist before. President Kikwete has been blamed for all the problems from corruption, irresponsibility, to the destruction of the country more than his CCM government. In other words, this could lead to the next CCM leader being welcomed with open arms, believing that they will restore CCM to the right path.


CHADEMA has been at the forefront of ensuring that citizens recognize the importance of democracy, especially through meetings and the activities of the Movement for Change (M4C), which have been conducted in all regions of the country. Their efforts and the results of these activities have been so clear that they have caused leaders of CCM (especially in that department) to be restless day and night, figuring out how they can tarnish and undermine CHADEMA.

It has led some CHADEMA supporters to believe that CCM is scared of Slaa to the extent they are portraying. It has led to the emergence of various scandals against Dr. Slaa, many of which are baseless and lack logic.

It has caused them to focus and, to some extent, be able to destabilize CHADEMA by intervening through their infiltrations into the party’s interests. To a large extent, CHADEMA has succeeded in enabling many leaders of CCM and the government itself to lose sleep. This is a significant achievement; however, CHADEMA needs to reassess itself to ensure they organize, establish themselves, and ensure they win the 2015 general election.

We still have two years until the general election if things go as they should. It is enough time for CHADEMA to make changes. From my perspective, up to this point, CHADEMA still has a lot of work to do to ensure success. I believe it is crucial for them to self-reflect, identify where they have slackened, and strengthen all relevant areas to ensure they deliver or eliminate them entirely.

They Fell into the Trap of “Entertainment Politics” against CCM

CCM, being an older and more established party than CHADEMA, has a significant advantage. They have enough people who are dedicated to conducting entertaining politics and competing fiercely to find anything that can weaken CHADEMA, which is growing day by day and is clearly a threat to CCM.

The problem is that CCM excels in divisive politics; they have extensive experience in this, even within their party. CHADEMA lacks this skill, and it will cost them, as many votes are obtained through divisive politics, not just through the power of arguments or undeniable truths. In Tanzania, where many are fans of eventful and sensational politics, CHADEMA has failed to come up with a counter-strategy for divisive politics like Nchemba, Nape, and others. Many rural citizens, where many votes are located, buy into Nchemba’s narrative (regardless of whether they are given T-shirts or not) because most of them are illiterate and ignorant.

Centralization of Leadership from the North

It’s possible that this wasn’t done with malicious intent. Still, it’s essential to understand that by the time it reached 2010, CHADEMA may have needed to do so because it still didn’t have many true loyalists from other parts of the country with the ability and experience in leadership. It’s a matter CHADEMA cannot openly discuss with the public, but it’s important to introduce a new strategy to ensure the belief that it is a “Northern Party” is eradicated.

They should also explain that they have now gained many capable individuals, and when the time comes, Tanzanians will see how CHADEMA will prove that it is not a party of the North but a party for all Tanzanians. CHADEMA, if attentive and well-prepared, can use this regional weakness as a strength, appealing to the public by emphasizing that they will provide competent people from various regions of the country who will assist the party and the citizens they will serve. As is evident recently, CHADEMA’s influence has been growing and spreading throughout the country. This can also be reduced by looking at the positions of leaders and their responsibilities, especially within the party. It doesn’t make sense for one person to hold more than five positions, and their workload can be reduced by sharing and delegating responsibilities.

Major Shortcomings of the Movement for Change (M4C)

The weaknesses of M4C seem to be due to the lack of funding to sustain its operations. The way M4C started is different from how it operates now. Perhaps due to its tarnished image being associated with violence or other reasons, but if CHADEMA aims to win the presidency, it must increase the strength and momentum of these efforts.

M4C has focused more on criticizing the CCM government publicly than on ensuring and fighting to increase the number of registered voters. The goal should have been to motivate citizens to register to vote while building a broad base and increasing the number of CHADEMA supporters. It should also have established a new database that would be used in the assessment of general elections that have passed and those to come.

Building Unproductive Enemies

CHADEMA has been at the forefront of ensuring discipline within their leaders and against their leaders and citizens. However, in my view, they have been too quick to make decisions to expel their leaders, and it raises doubts about whether thorough investigations are conducted against the accused. We have already seen reactions from people like Chriss Lukosi, Juliana Shonza, Mtela Mwampamba — these were CHADEMA leaders, indicating that they are well acquainted with them. It is clear that someone who knows you well is the main enemy because they know where to strike.

Acceptance of Defectors from CCM

It is strange that CHADEMA is quick to receive leaders from another party (especially from their main opposition, CCM) with fanfare and announcements. The controversy arises when the defector from CCM is a leader and, upon reaching CHADEMA, is given a leadership position. This is risky if the person is a plant, and it denies the rights of those who could hold that position outside of that guest. This will happen and is one of the things that will cost CHADEMA the presidency in 2015. CHADEMA can avoid being a party that accepts all those who are afraid to stand as CCM candidates in 2015 due to CHADEMA’s strength.

Unfortunately, this is not due to CHADEMA’s love for the nation but rather their self-interest. It is crucial for CHADEMA to reconsider this; perhaps they should come up with a statement that anyone who defects from CCM in the last hour will not have the opportunity to run for election because it denies loyalists their rights. The party should introduce a rule that joining CHADEMA requires at least two years before an election, for example, to gain experience and understanding of the party, etc.

My General Take

Up to this point, I believe there are every indication that CCM will win, even if it’s by 51% of all votes; The difference in this victory will be that CCM will win by a narrow margin, as has been the case in the history of Tanzanian elections. The Chairman of CHADEMA, Honorable Freeman Mbowe, has already pledged that if CCM wins in 2015, he will resign, and let me quote him, “If CCM wins the 2015 election, then I will resign from politics.” This is an encouraging statement indicating how well the party is organized, its confidence in its work and strength, and its commitment to liberate the country by 2015.

Similarly, if there is a victory for CHADEMA, as many Tanzanians, activists, and party leaders believe; then the creation of a national unity government is likely, especially if CHADEMA gets many votes at the presidential and parliamentary levels. However, I admit that the problem lies in the issue of party alliances; CHADEMA has already committed itself, and the public knows to what extent CHADEMA disagrees with the idea of a Government of National Unity in Zanzibar. The question remains: if the possibility of a Government of National Unity arises on the mainland and is seen as the only solution, will CHADEMA swallow their pride? However, I’ll leave this here as it opens up a completely new debate. CHADEMA… This piece is about challenging each other and reevaluating to succeed in the journey to the State House.

I would like to use this quote from the art of War by the legendary Sun Wu. I believe that this quote is effectively used by CCM in its dirty political tactics, especially these gutter politics, which are the sole reason they are still where they are. It is time for CHADEMA to start doing the same… (In My Opinion).

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak so that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared; appear where you are not expected.”



Asha D. Abinallah

Expert at the intersection of Internet on Information, Innovation, Technology & Governance in New Media | DW Certified Trainer | CEO at Tech & Media Convergency