TANZANIA’s most vibrant opposition legislator, Dr Willibrod Slaa, has become a political phenomenon since his party, Chadema, appointed him presidential candidate for the 2010 general election. An eloquent speaker, he is a crowd-puller, a smart orator, an enigmatic politician, a composed personality and, now people call him, the country’s ‘redemptor.’ He will be competing with five other contenders for the country’s top-most office – four from the opposition, one from the ruling party, CCM.
So far, they include Professor Ibrahim Lipumba of Civic United Front (CUF), Mutamwega Mugaywa of Tanzania Labour Party (TLP), Hashim Rungwe of National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi), Christopher Mtikila of Democratic Party (DP), and incumbent Jakaya Kikwete of CCM.
Already, President Kikwete has expresses his fears, telling his party not to underrate the opposition. He was referring the current political wave caused by Dr. Slaa’s charisma. The just ended preliminaries in the ruling party have left it maimed. Groups of disgruntled losers are considering crossing over to Dr Slaa’s party. In some people’s eyes, CCM is slowly disintegrating and falling apart, as the opposition gains momentum.
Until his party officially endorses him, he is not yet a candidate. Official campaigns start on August 21, 2010. But he is the country’s most magnetic politician. Whatever the trend and outcome of the campaigns, there are obvious signs that Dr. Slaa’s popularity and charisma are changing and shaping Tanzania’s politics like never before.
And, come polling day, October 31, 2010, Tanzania’s political landscape will never be the same again, thanks to this phenomenon; the influence of the former Roman Catholic priest who once worked as secretary general for the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC).