Who is this Tanzania’s Opposition man Edward Lowassa?

Edward Ngoyai Lowassa. (Photo: Pius Cheruiyot/Standard)
He has mounted arguably the most serious challenge to Tanzania's independence party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

Ironically, this is the case of a CCM insider posing the most serious threat to its reign.

Edward Ngoyai Lowassa, the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) presidential candidate defected from ruling party CCM in the lead-up to the election.

The grey-haired politician has pulled massive crowds throughout the campaigns with his hard-hitting statements condemning CCM, a party of which he had been a longtime supporter.

Mr Lowassa's campaign has consistently promoted one message: Tanzania's future is no longer with CCM after over 50 years in power, arguing that the independence party had become complacent and time for change had come.

Born on August 26, 1953, Lowassa served as the country's prime minister under outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete from 2005 to 2008  when he was forced to resign over a fraud scandal that earned him the nickname 'Lo-Rushwa', a Swahili word which means bribe. He denied the corruption allegations.

When he was locked out during party nominations, Lowassa decamped to the Opposition protesting the lack of internal democracy.

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In his last campaign rally at Jangwani grounds in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, Lowassa urged voters to trust him with their votes.

He repeated his message that he would work to unite Tanzanians, and reminded them that the future of Tanzanians was no longer with the ruling CCM party.

"I'm only here to ask for your votes," Lowassa said, before telling supporters that he would work to ensure free education and affordable healthcare services for all.

The former Premier is the fourth-born child of herdsman Ngoyai Lowassa, who worked part-time for the colonial government in the district of Monduli, as a village law-enforcement officer.

Lowassa joined Monduli Primary School in 1961 where he sat for his Certificate of Primary Education (CPE).

He proceeded to advance his education at Arusha Secondary School in 1968 and sat for his O-Level certificate, the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE), in 1971.

He later joined Milambo Secondary School from 1972 to 1973, where he sat for his Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education (ACSE).

He graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine and Performing Arts in 1977.

In 1978, he joined the army and fought in the Kagera War between Tanzania and Uganda.

He went on to earn a Master's of Science in Development Studies from University of Bath, UK.

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Edward LowassaChama Cha MapinduziJakaya Kikwete