Two senior leaders of Tanzania’s new opposition coalition have resigned over the nomination of a former ruling party official as presidential candidate, exposing fractures in the fragile coalition ahead of an October poll. In a move meant to cut the ruling party’s 54-year grip on power, Tanzania’s four major opposition parties on Tuesday named former prime minister Edward Lowassa – once seen as a leading contender for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party nomination – as their candidate. Some analysts see a shrewd move to win over disenchanted supporters of CCM and break the lock on power it has enjoyed for decades. But senior members of the opposition coalition have expressed disgust and stepped down.
Ibrahim Lipumba, chairman of the Civic United Front (CUF), Tanzania’s second-biggest opposition party, announced his resignation on Thursday in protest against Lowassa’s candidacy.
He follows in the footsteps of the secretary general of the main opposition CHADEMA party, Wilibrod Slaa, who resigned earlier this week on similar grounds, accusing his party of abandoning its principles. “It goes against my conscience to welcome such leaders into our coalition,” Lipumba told a news conference.