New queries on coalition’s future after CUF skips talks

Dar es Salaam. Is Ukawa headed for a split? That is the question which lingered on many observers’ minds yesterday judging from how leaders of the coalition of the four parties treated journalists and the nation.
Dragging their feet on picking a presidential candidate, in talks which were supposed to have been completed before yesterday, sent a signal that all was not well within the coalition.
In another indication that the pact was heading south, the Civic United Front (CUF) – a major principal in the coalition – did not attend the yesterday meeting which was supposed to come up with the name of Ukawa’s presidential candidate.
On Monday Ukawa invited journalists to a press briefing which was to take place yesterday morning to name its presidential flagbearer in a move which apparently indicated that talks over the issue had been completed.
But, journalists were kept waiting for more than 12 hours as Ukawa leaders continued with their discussion behind closed doors, a move which made journalists wonder what was being discussed?
Even the venue of the press conference was made a secret. It was not until mid-morning that journalists knew where the meeting was being held, after which they informed one another and proceeded to camp at Colloseum Hotel for the entire day.
Efforts by reporters to get information on what was going on from the Chadema Information officer, Mr Tumaini Makene, drew a blank after he failed to come up with clear information on what was delaying the leaders from naming their candidate.
Ukawa is made up of four opposition parties namely Chadema, CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi and the National league for Democracy (NLD).
They came together mid-last year after they disagreed with the ruling party stand during the Constituent Assembly, which debated the second draft constitution.
They decided to further their cooperation to this year’s General Election by nominating a common candidate in each elective post with an agreement that each party should support the single candidate.
But the dragging on of yesterday’s discussions was yet another proof that the parties had not done their homework well as until late in the evening they were yet to come out and brief reporters who were kept waiting for more than 12 hours.
The four parties met even as CUF and NCCR-Mageuzi had already picked Prof Ibrahim Lipumba and Dr George Kahangwa as their presidential candidates respectively.
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