On Wednesday evening, Lissu and his running mate Salum Mwalimu appeared at NEC headquarters in Dodoma and submitted a dossier detailing why CCM candidate Dr John Magufuli and his CUF counterpart Prof Ibrahim Lipumba should be disqualified.
It took electoral management body officials about six hours to go through the documents page by page and word for word. Minutes before midnight, NEC delivered a verdict that reasons raised by the politician did not meet the legal threshold.
The Director of Elections, Dr Wilson Charles said that in his objection to Dr Magufuli’s nomination as candidate, Lissu argued that the incumbent Head of State did not attach photos to his forms as required and that the documents were not submitted the NEC’s offices as per prescribed regulations.
As for Prof Lipumba, Lissu submitted that the CUF candidate flouted stipulated regulations with regard to returning the presidential nomination forms.
Dr Charles said he notified the two candidates about the objections raised by Lissu and asked them to submit their response.
“After going through objections raised and responses submitted by the two candidates, we came to the conclusion that the candidates did not violate any elections law or regulation,” he said.
“President Magufuli returned the forms with his photos attached as required,” he asserted.
Now that the only two objections raised have been rejected, it is now official that President Magufuli is squaring it out with among others, Lissu of the main opposition Chadema and former cabinet minister Bernard Membe of ACT-Wazalendo.
Given their experience as seasoned politicians and considerable following their parties enjoy, the two candidates are likely to give the incumbent a run for his money in the general election slated for October 28.
While the incumbent will likely take voters through his achievements during the past five years and ask for more time to finish his projects, the opposition candidates are expected to design their campaign messages to punch holes in Dr Magufuli’s performance.
Other seasoned politicians on the ballot paper forl the presidency are CUF’s Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, John Shibuda (Ada-Tadea) and Chaumma’s Hashim Rungwe Spunda who made headlines recently after promising to provide food on the table for Tanzanians, “starting with supply of huge plates of rice and chicken in his campaign rallies.”
Campaigns which kicked off on Wednesday will run up to October 27, one day before polling day when Tanzanians will elect the Union president, the president of Zanzibar, members of Parliament and members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives as well as ward councilors.