Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Frictions may wreck Ukawa, analysts say

Dar es Salaam. The alliance of opposition political parties also known as the Coalition of the Defenders of People’s Constitution (Ukawa) will be heading to its self-destruction if the parties involved are not ready to sacrifice their self political interests for unity, political analysts have warned.
Ukawa is made up of four opposition parties Chadema, CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi and NLD. The parties were scheduled to unveil their joint presidential candidate last week but even after a series of long and closed doors meetings they failed to so. 
The last of the meetings, which was held last Tuesday at the Colosseum hotel was meant to unveil the coalition’s flag bearer but CUF skipped the meeting and sources within the coalition confided to The Election Platform that the party’s absence was the only reason which stopped other Ukawa members to go forth and name their candidate.
CUF leaders held a press briefing the following day saying though it was still an active member of Ukawa, the decision on whether it will continue working with the other opposition parties who comprise this grouping would be made by its supreme council.
The party explained that it could not attend the Colosseum meeting following requests from party members from all corners of the country who have been asking the secretariat to seek blessings from the CUF’s top decision- making organ before the officials engage in talks on the nomination of a presidential candidate through Ukawa in the coming elections.
CUF leaders also conceded that some members within the party have started to question what benefit it stands to gain from the Ukawa alliance.
The turn of events in Ukawa have sent conflicting signals to the public and already the main discussion is not who is going to be Ukawa’s presidential candidate, but if the parties will remain united to the end and field a joint candidate to face CCM’s candidate Dr John Magufuli.
Political Science don from Ruaha University College (Ruco) Prof Gaudence Mpangala said tensions are evident within Ukawa and that is not a good picture to send to the public at this time.
“People are now becoming desperate, Ukawa is something that they’ve longed for and would want to see it matured,” he said.
According to Prof Mpangala now the parties are receiving intense pressure from their respective members who want to make sure that their parties are not downgraded in the coalition.
“It was evident that there were internal forces within CUF wanting their chair Prof Ibrahim Lipumba to stand for the presidency. From the beginning he was categorical that although he was picking his party’s nomination form but the final decision to pick a candidate was in Ukawa’s hands as a whole and he was going to accept whatever the outcome,” said Prof Mpangala adding “Now I believe tensions have reached to the highest point and it seems the party is failing to contain its members.”
Prof Mpangala believes that Prof Lipumba and other principal leaders are committed to the cause but the moment that they fail to contain their members and give in to their pressures then the coalition will be no more.