MINISTER of Defence and National Service Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi on Friday won Zanzibar’s presidential primary on a CCM ticket, defeating three other candidates but quickly admitting it was the toughest test he had faced in his lifetime.
Mwinyi won the race that has seen 31 other potential cadres attempting to succeed Dr Ali Mohamed Shein whose second term in office is drawing to an end.
Mr Job Ndugai, the election returning officer, announced that Dr Mwinyi garnered 129 or 78.65 per cent of all total valid votes.
His competitors, Shamsi Vuai Nahodha and Dr Khalid Mohammed, received 16 and 19 votes, respectively.
Dr Mwinyi’s victory was hardly a surprise given his undisputable leadership abilities as the defence minister for at least 11 years.
But speaking shortly after he was announced the winner by President John Magufuli, Mwinyi said the exercise hasn’t been easy.
“In all my tests, this has been the most extreme,” he remarked.
The new hopeful presidential candidate for Zanzibar awaits the general congress that meets today to, among other things, confirm his nomination.
He said in his acceptance speech that there will only be one group within the party and that’s CCM group which will be holding only one mission - to win the October general elections.
According to him, there were so many potential candidates this year, but the party had rallied behind him to run for the presidential post in Zanzibar.
“I am certain that all other candidates have agreed to work with me together to ensure we win and improve the ruling election manifesto,” he said.
He emphasized that the political party members and the leaders are all ready to seek victory in the October polls. He said he was fully ready to collaborate with members and leaders to ensure CCM wins in a landslide victory.
“I thank Dr Shein for effectively overseeing the entire process. We were many, and through the special committee, we were reduced to five and later the central committee picked three names ... now I have been named the flag bearer for the Zanzibar presidency,” he noted.
Dr Mwinyi, who holds a Master’s degree in internal Medicine, has been in the government since 2000 when he was appointed Deputy Minister for Health.
He promised to uphold the revolution, the Union and implement the 2020- 25 CCM election manifesto if elected president.
Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, a former Chief Minister of Zanzibar and Defence and National Services minister, had explained earlier that he would also defend the revolution, union and natural resources should he become the next president.
Nahodha, who has been a member of the CCM National Executive Committee for 17 years, said he had learned from the outgoing president, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein and other leaders and that he is ready to take the huge challenge - running for the high office.
Dr Mohammed, an agriculture expert and former cabinet minister in the revolutionary government of Zanzibar said he was a beneficiary of the revolution that facilitated equality in the Isles and he was ready to champion the voices of poor people.
Hussein, son to Zanzibar’s third-phase President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, is a medical doctor with vast experience - spanning over 20 years - in Tanzanian politics.
The current Kwahani Member of Parliament and Defence and National Service Minister officially joined politics in 2000.
Before crossing over to Zanzibar in the 2005 general elections, the 54-year old Isles presidential hopeful had served one five-year term as Member of Parliament for Mkuranga in Coast Region.
Dr Mwinyi has a Master’s Degree in Medicine and PhD from London-based Hammersmith Hospital and had lectured at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University where he also worked as specialist doctor.
The Zanzibar presidential hopeful also served as Muhimbili National Hospital Registrar before he moved to politics where he started as Deputy Minister of Health, Union Affairs Minister and later in 2014 Defence and National Services Minister under fourth-phase President Jakaya Kikwete.
President John Magufuli has during his entire first fiveyear term retained in the defence docket the junior Mwinyi who seems to follow the footsteps of his father, also served in both the Zanzibar and Union presidencies.