The suggestion on the RaiaMwema front page back in February that CCM could be lining up retired Chief Justice, Augustino Ramadhani for the presidency came out of the blue. It seemed to be based on nothing more than the logic that having had a Muslim president (President Kikwete), it’s the turn of a Christian, and having had two consecutive presidents from the mainland (Kikwete and Mkapa), it’s the turn of a Zanzibari. There aren’t many Zanzibari Christians – possibly as few as 25,000 – and Augustino Ramadhani fits the bill.
The printed paper posed it as a question – “Is is Augustino Ramadhani?” – but online, the headline expressed the idea with more certainty: “Rais wa Kikwete huyu” – Kikwete’s choice for President.
Judge Ramadhani has a varied and distinguished CV. As well as being a retired Chief Justice, he was Brigadier General in the Tanzanian Army, and is now an Anglican Priest and President of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights. He is also, apparently, a very good pianist. The only obvious thing missing is politics!
He is on the front pages again today, having collected the forms yesterday from CCM headquarters – he is indeed running for president.
RaiaMwema’s daily sister, RaiaTanzania, was understandably proud, including a snapshot of the front page from February: “It’s accomplished: Judge Augustino”:
CCM-owned Uhuru newspaper is not always a good guide to the party’s thinking – the divides within the party often make the paper more of a pawn in an internal game than the party’s mouthpiece. But today there is a clear suggestion that Judge Ramadhani is indeed a favoured candidate:
The paper hasn’t given that kind of headline to any other aspiring candidate. It seems like an acknowledgement that there has long been a plan to get him the nomination.
All of which leads The Citizen to ask the pertinent question: “Is he the chosen one?”
The paper does not answer its own question, and neither can I. But whether or not there is such a plan, a lot can happen between picking up nomination papers and being elected president. “It’s accomplished” seems premature.
Nevertheless, Augustino Ramadhani is certainly a candidate worth watching.
H/T @millardayo for the front pages.