An updated version of this post is now available, including key dates.
Tanzania will have a new president later this year – the elections are set for October. But arguably the key moment will come earlier, when CCM selects it’s candidate. Despite the growth in support for opposition parties, the chance of any other party’s candidate winning in October remains low.
So how will CCM make its choice? I looked around for a clear explanation of the process, but couldn’t find one. So I decided to put it together myself – based on the party’s constitution (I would provide a link, but the CCM website is currently down) and discussions with some of the key actors. It may also be useful to others, so I have decided to share it here.
One important thing is still missing – the timings. The party has not yet announced the dates, which will need to accommodate the likely constitutional referendum scheduled for April 30th, and the parliamentary budget session from April to June. There was excitement last week when apparently party officials across the country were told to ensure they were in their districts by the end of the month, though the party’s Ideology and Propaganda Secretary, Nape Nnauye, was reported this week as saying the process may have to be delayed.
CCM Presidential Candidate Selection Process
Note: I cannot guarantee that I am correct on every detail here, but this is based on the best information I have available to me at the time of writing.
Step 1 – Nomination
Aspiring party members pick up forms and look for endorsers / sponsors. A minimum of 200 party members from a minimum of 10 regions are needed for a nomination. Having gathered the necessary signatures, candidates return the forms to the party secretariat.
Step 2 – Grading and recommendations
The party secretariat (of nine people) goes through all the applications and grades them. Then the National Security and Ethics Committee (eight people), chaired by the party chairman (President Kikwete) goes through the list and makes recommendations to the Central Committee for the next step. No candidates are removed from the list at this stage.
Step 3 – Central Committee – down to five
The 32-member Central Committee (CC) / Kamati Kuu reduces the list of applicants down to five. Traditionally there is no voting at this stage – decisions are made by consensus.
The CC includes the President and Vice President of Tanzania and of Zanzibar, the Prime Minister, senior figures in the party secretariat, a few nominated members from the National Executive Committee and a handful of others from CCM-affiliated bodies.
Step 4 – National Executive Committee (NEC) – five to three
The five names selected by the CC are now considered by the 378-member National Executive Committee (NEC) / Halmashauri Kuu, which brings the list down to three through a vote. (In previous years, NEC had fewer members). In theory the NEC can reject the recommendations of the CC, but this has never happened for the presidential nomination.
Membership of NEC includes all CC members plus party chairs and secretaries from each region, and one nominated member from each district (6 per Zanzibar district).
Step 5 – National Congress
The top three from the NEC vote go to the National Congress (Mkutano Mkuu), which votes to elect the CCM presidential candidate.
The congress has around 2,100 members, including all CCM Members of Parliament and of the Zanzibar House of Representatives, as well as a greater number of representatives from each district and from CCM-affiliated bodies.