Lipumba absent as Ukawa leaders meet

NATIONAL Civic United Front (CUF) Chairman Professor Ibrahim Lipumba was absent as the Coalition of Defenders of the People’s Constitution, Ukawa, leaders met throughout the day to decide on their candidate for the Union presidential race.

Other leaders of the outfit, including National Chairman of Chadema, Mr Freeman Mbowe, National NCCR-Mageuzi Chairman James Mbatia and leaders from the National League for Democracy (NLD) were present.

The meeting’s insiders reported intense discussions to nominate its presidential candidate amidst much speculation, tension, uncertainty and possible split.

They met at the Colloseum Hotel in Oysterbay, Dar es Salaam, from morning to late evening during which time delegates were seen coming out of the conference hall three times.

Officials kept on assuring journalists of a briefing, which was, however, not forthcoming until this newspaper went to press last night.

A Special Seats Member of Parliament on CUF ticket, Ms Esther Sakaya, said during an interview with a local television station that although the issue at stake was on a decision on the presidential candidate, other issues came up among the parties’ members that needed to be solved.

She declined to mention the issues that had come up but said they were ‘‘very important issues that cannot be ignored before they finally commit to Ukawa, both for the presidential candidacy and other elective posts.

Earlier, a statement by Chadema’s Information Officer, Mr Tumaini Makene, refuted claims in the social media that the camp belonging to one of the presidential aspirants, Mr Edward Lowassa, from Chama Cha Mapinduzi, had initiated talks aimed at paving way for their candidate to join Chadema.

He said the Chadema Chairman, Mr Mbowe, and the party’s Secretary General, Mr Willibroad Slaa, have been meeting with their counterparts in UKAWA to chart their road towards the general elections.

He refuted reports that Mr Mbowe and Dr Slaa were at loggerheads over the reported ‘coming’ of Mr Lowasa’s team on board the party. UKAWA is made up of Chadema, CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi and NLD.
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