Despite Tanzania’s tightest election race yet, ruling party man set for a landslide, says opinion poll

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Such an lopsided outcome would buck perception that CCM was facing a major challenge, with the opposition receiving several high-profile defectors.

TWO-thirds of Tanzania’s voters back the ruling party’s candidate, John Magufuli, to win next month’s presidential election, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday.

Of the Tanzanian citizens polled between August 15 and September 9, some 66% said they would back Magufuli, while 22% favored opposition candidate and former Tanzanian Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, Twaweza, a Dar es Salaam-based research company, said in statements on its Twitter account.

The ruling CCM party has dominated politics since modern Tanzania was formed in 1964, and currently has two-thirds of seats in parliament.

Such an lopsided outcome would buck the perception that this has been the country’s tightest race yet with the opposition having received several high-profile defectors including Lowassa and another former prime minister Frederick Sumaye.

But it might give investors a clearer view of the future with several projects said to be on a lull awaiting political direction. Last week acting Air Tanzania chief executive Johnson Mfinanga said the airline was considering selling a stake in a turnaround strategy.

But such a decision would depend on how fast the new government shapes up.

“Unfortunately it’s an election year so things are not moving as they should, after the election we shall get the bigger picture,” said Mfinanga.

The opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo has criticised the government’s failure to boost the airline’s operations. Lowassa promised at a campaign launch last month that he would invest to make the carrier more competitive if he’s put in office.

Last month outgoing president Jakaya Kikwete  signed key laws related to gas, but which the opposition has rejected. Tanzania last year produced 35 billion cubic feet of natural gas—its highest ever. Its off-shore reserves, newly-found, are now estimated at 55.1 trillion cubic feet

Showing how the political uncertainty affects energy production, gas extraction plans by investors are said to be waiting for clarity following the election.

Tanzania, with over 50 million people, is east Africa’s most populous country, with economic growth of more than seven percent, according to the World Bank.

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