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Tanzanian Handshake As Opposition Leader Edward Lowassa Rejoins Government

CAPTION: President John Magufuli (Right) with Opposition Leader Edward Lowassa at Statehouse Dar es Salaam, January 2018 | Photo by Presidential Press Unit

Two days ago (Friday), former Tanzanian prime minister and main opposition leader Edward Nguyai Lowassa rejoined the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

Lowassa, who was the main opposition challenger to President John Magufuli during the 2015 election, confirmed he ‘had come home’, during a brief public ceremony held in Dar es Salaam at CCM offices.

This was confirmed by CCM Spokesman, Mr Humphrey Polepole.

“He said I have come home. This shows he is a mature politician and a gentleman. He could have rushed to join the Opposition but coming back to apologise is a great show of wisdom and humility,” Polepole said.

President Magufuli, who was present at the meeting, is reported to have happily welcomed him back.

“Mr Lowassa has shown himself to be a true gentleman. He may have left us (CCM) to join the opposition (Chadema) in a huff at one point, but he has shown the humility to ask for forgiveness and I salute him for that,” Dr Magufuli is quoted in the statement released by Mr Polepole.

Mr Lowassa defected to Chadema in the run up to the 2015 general elections after his name was removed from the list of CCM presidential aspirants. Magufuli later went on to defeat Lowassa by 8.8 million to 6 million votes.

In January 2018, Mr Lowassa was pictured with President Magufuli at State House after a meeting that commentators said was meant to midwife his defection to CCM.

At the time, he denied the claims saying whereas the President had persuaded him to rejoin CCM, he had declined the offer.

In a quick rejoinder at that time, state house clarified that the meeting was not about defection.

Political analysts see Lowassa’s defection as Magufuli’s quest to galvanise his support base ahead of next year’s general elections in 2020.

President Magufuli will be seeking re-election for a second and final term in that poll.

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