It was jubilation and cheers for thousands of opposition Chadema members and supporters yesterday after the party’s candidate, Joshua Nassari, defeated seven other contestants and was declared the new lawmaker for Arumeru East Constituency.
Announcing the by-election results yesterday, Arumeru East Returning Officer Tresias Kagenzi said Nassari scooped a total of 32,972 votes (54.92 percent), out of 60,038 cast, while the runner’s up, Siyoi Sumari got 26,757 votes (44.57percent).
Stiff competition was between the two parties as the other six, which took part registered poor results to the extent that some failed even to get a single vote in many polling stations.
Kagenzi said that Shabaan Moyo Kirita of Sauti ya Umma (SAU) had only 21 votes, while Charles Msuya of United People's Democratic Party (UPDP) got 18 votes.
Mohamed Abdallah Mohamed of Democratic Party (DP) won 77 votes, Abraham Chipaka (TLP) had 18, Hamisi Juma Kieni of National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA) got 35 votes and Abdallah Adam Mazengo of the Alliance for Tanzania Farmers Party (AFP) had 139.
Expressing disappointment over the low turnout of voters in the by-election, the returning officer said those who voted were only half of the voters registered in the permanent voter register.
A total of 127, 425 voters were expected to vote in the by-election, but only 60,038 showed up on Sunday.
Top leaders of CCM and its candidate, Siyoi were not present when the returning officer released the results.
Nassari’s landslide victory was greeted with great jubilation at Usa River township—the constituency’s headquarters, before sparking into other parts of Arusha and neighbouring regions.
This paper witnessed huge crowds of youths who were waiting for the election results the whole night as they danced, sang and rejoiced.
Despite heavy downpour that hit the area, Chadema supporters—men and women were seen chanting the song: “People’s power; people’s power….”
After, Nassari was announced the new MP, he was carried high by highly excited supporters, who started walking as they sang to Leganga, the area where Chadema had camped since the start of the 30-day campaign rallies.
Youth on motorcycles and vehicles carrying party flags have been moving up and down from Usa River to Arusha city centre as they ululate.
“We waited for long. And this is our turn to celebrate our victory,” a motorcyclist said, as he waved the party flag riding to Arusha city centre.
Another party supporter identified as Mary Pantaleo described the outcome as the wish of the people.
“This outcome reflects the wish of the people. And that is the meaning of people’s power,” she said.
The Sunday’s poll results have been the talk of the day in commuter buses, bus stops, markets and in recreation centres.
Speaking soon after being announced the winner, Nassari briefly said: “We started with God and ended up with God. We’ll continue to do so in other issues especially those related to development.”
He thanked God for making his dream a reality and commended his voters and Meru residents for trusting him to be their representative in the National Assembly, despite the fact that he come from a poor family.
The new lawmaker, also commended the police force for a well-done job in facilitating the election process, without causing chaos or bloodshed.
He however asked Arumeru District police boss to release Chadema supporters who were arrested on Sunday evening over chaos at the area where the results were announced.
Among his development priorities are land conflict, water shortage, education, he said adding that he will soon introduce constituency development fund to assist the needy in the area.
Nassari said he will start drilling water wells in the coming three days at Mororoni ward as part of fulfilling the promises he made to Meru residents in his campaign rallies.
“My task is to mobilise fund and people to make things move,” he said, asking Meru residents to work closely with him and change the area.
In another development, the ruling party, CCM admitted losing the Arumeru East seat to the opposition Chadema.
CCM’s Publicity and Ideology Secretary, Nape Nnauye revealed this in Dar es Salaam yesterday when addressing reporters on the results of the by-election.
Besides, he spoke about other matters of the party including the allegations that some CCM members were involved in the beating of some members of opposition parties in Mwanza and Mbeya regions at the weekend.
Nnauye applauded Chadema for emerging the winner in the just ended Arumeru East by-election and in councillorship results in eight Wards located in regions.
“We have accepted the results and admit defeat. It is true Chadema has made efforts to win the Arumeru East constituency and some wards, and we wish them all the best,” he noted.
He said the Chadema’s victory is the voice and choice of Arumeru residents who decided to choose the candidate from that party. “As gentlemen we have to respect the voters’ decision although the results came against our wish,” he said.
He advised the MP elect Joshua Nassari to work for the people of Arumeru East by implementing the promises that Chadema made during the campaigns.
Nnauye said CCM would evaluate the whole process of the by-election and set a plan for the 2015 general election.