How the papers reported Magufuli’s nomination as CCM presidential candidate

The big news story in Tanzania over the weekend was the nomination of John Pombe Magufuli as CCM presidential candidate, including the dramatic exclusion of Edward Lowassa from the final five. The Magufuli announcement came around midday on Sunday, so didn’t make the papers until this morning. So, with a bit of help from @millardayo, how did they cover it?

1. The more serious Swahili papers: (click on an individual image to enlarge)

Mwananchi went with the headline “Tingatinga”, the nickname given to Magufuli by Kikwete. This comes from slang Swahili name for road construction vehicles, hence also one the paper’s three cartoons:

The paper’s editorial focused on the party’s next challenge: to reunite the many disappointed factions:

“The task ahead for the party is even bigger than that which has just ended. … this party has not healed the wounded and the cracked that emerged in the struggle between the various candidates and their groupings.”

“kazi ambayo bado ipo mbele yake ni kubwa mno pengine kuliko ile ambayo imemalizika. … chama hicho hakijaponya majeraha na mipasuko iliyotokana na misuguano miongoni mwa wagombea na makundi yao.”

Otherwise, across most of these papers there are many congratulations offered both to Magufuli himself, and to the party.

Several papers gave prominence to Magufuli’s promise to get tough with “Mafisadi”, the perpetrators of grand corruption, including Tanzania Daima and Raia Tanzania, which both put it on the front page.

2. The less respectable political papers:

All three focus on the apparent defeat of Lowassa over the appointment of Magufuli. “Lowassa has a difficult choice to make,” says Mwanahabari, while Dira suggests Lowassa has potentially explosive secrets to reveal: “I will tell all.” Taifa Imara, meanwhile, takes Lowassa’s side, accusing the party of having played dirty (scoring a goal with the hand).

3. The English language papers:

The Citizen focussed on applauding the party leadership for having steered through choppy waters:

“some presidential hopefuls gave the impression that their nomination was a foregone conclusion—that it was either them or CCM should prepare for defeat! There were even prophets of doom, who saw mayhem in the event of “their” do-or-die Ikulu hopefuls being axed. It is a big credit to the CCM leadership that the party has managed to wade through the nomination process and remained basically intact.”

The Guardian put CCM’s choice in its wider context:

“In view of the perceived strong opposition of the proposed constitution, CCM had to pick a strong and popular candidate for the presidency. His main task would not only be to push for the proposed new constitution to go through in the people’s referendum, but also ‘heal’ the party’s image tarnished by several scandals.”

“We think Magufuli is the right man to put the country’s image on its rightful course again, should he win the confidence of Tanzanians and win the General Election. However, CCM needs to get an overwhelming majority of Members of Parliament to make it easy for bills to pass through. This is a tough job for Magufuli.”

Unsurprisingly, government-owned Daily News was euphoric: “Big up CCM, big up Magufuli!

“Once again CCM has shown Tanzania the way. The nomination of the no-nonsense Works Minister to fly CCM’s flag in the Union presidential elections in October was a fitting climax to a period of much suspense.”

“In a massive display of greater democracy, for which CCM is very much renowned, 42 Tanzanians had come forward and picked forms to seek nomination for the race to the State House. In the final vote taken at the national congress, Dr Magufuli won by a landslide.”

4. Sports and gossip papers:

It is sometimes said that the best evidence that a sporting star has captured the public’s imagination is when reports of their achievements move from the back pages of a newspaper to the front. In the nomination of John Magufuli as CCM presidential candidate, this has played out in reverse – even the newspapers that usually focus exclusively on sport found room on their front pages for this political story.

The same applies to the udaku papers, who pushed their celebrity gossip onto inside pages. In the case of Kiu, the story filled both the front and back page.

Interestingly, of all the papers listed here, only Kiu gave prominence (on its back page) to one of the most alarming developments: the arrest of a man in Dodoma with an estimated 720m/- (~$350,000) in cash. This was on Saturday morning, when the surprise of Lowassa’s elimination was still fresh, and NEC had not yet met to reduce the list of candidates from five to three.

“Whose money was this?” the headline asks, with four names suggested: Migiro, Makamba, Magufuli and Lowassa. Oddly, Membe is not mentioned, though initial allegations on social media focussed on his campaign team, to the extent that he issued a denial.

According to reports over the weekend in The Citizen and The (Tz) Guardian, the money was found in the possession of an Indian man in the hotel where leading members of Lowassa’s campaign team were staying. He was then interviewed in the hotel restaurant a few meters away from where Andrew Chenge – a prominent ally of Lowassa – was having breakfast.

We may well never know who was behind it.

5. Finally, some snippets from social media

A lot was said, of course, but I have collected a few of my favourites.

John Pombe Magufuli, geddit?

An old clip dug out by @OrijinoKomedi:

And from an apparently triumphant President Kikwete himself: