5-3-1 Go! How CCM will choose their 2015 presidential candidate

An updated version of this post is now available, including key dates.

Source: The (Tz) Guardian, 10/2/2015

Source: The (Tz) Guardian, 10/2/2015

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.

5 thoughts on “5-3-1 Go! How CCM will choose their 2015 presidential candidate

  1. Nakaka

    That was indeed a worthy attempt, trying to make sense of the intricate process by which CCM chooses its ultimate flag bearer, although you did not mention the hidden and equally primal forces which influence such choices. I might add that, since a recent opinion poll by Twaweza shows that voters are undecided, and a likely opposition contender was among the top 3, not forgetting a probable coalition of sorts (UKAWA) which when executed as promised will potentially increase the odds for opposition win, would you consider doing the same analysis for CHADEMA or UKAWA?

    1. mtega Post author

      Thanks Nakaka.

      I deliberately steered clear of discussing the political forces at play in making the choices at this point – I wanted to start by making the formal process clear. I’m sure there will be plenty of coverage of the politics (there already is), and I will probably do some analysis of that at some point as well.

      On your second question, I would love to understand the Ukawa process to select their candidates, but I’m not sure that even the leaders of the parties involved yet know what the process will be. If you know different, please let me know.

      If they can stay together until October, this will help them greatly in specific constituencies. It might increase the opposition share of the vote at presidency level as well, but I think it’s very unlikely that an Ukawa candidate will defeat a CCM candidate.

  2. Nakaka

    There are plenty of analyses out there, true but none – far as I can tell – has attempted to shed light on what it is really that will determine the victor – within CCM – and why;. Is it fiscal prowess? Backing of the establishment? Popularity or strength of the Mtandao? Kikwete keeps confusing the rest of us even more with his fables, while some analysts keep giving too simple reasons such as religion of the contender or which side of the union they hail from, like it is merely a matter of “black” or “white.” Which is why some people are still thirsting for a more contextual and plausible analysis.

    As for the UKAWA selection process, it might be something worthy probing. If UKAWA keep telling us that they will field single candidates throughout the country on parliamentary and presidential elections, don’t you think it’s time somebody asked them to be more specific on how they intend to accomplish it, within current confinements of the country’s constitution and their own varying election by-laws and procedures?

    And why do you say is “very unlikely that an Ukawa candidate will defeat a CCM candidate?” If the Twaweza study is to be trusted, it is indeed possible, especially because according to it, majority of voters seem undecided, and the leading CCM candidates are ahead the potential UKAWA candidate by a small margin.

  3. Pingback: CCM nomination process and timetable – Presidency | mtega

  4. Wilhelm Nkini

    Although Presidential candidate selection in CCM is clear, the Political atmosphere is very inconsistent . I wish you could mention the possible candidates and the challenges faced by each to bring us to a clue of who is who. It is like a very slight mistake may cost CCM it’s life.

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