Thursday, October 2, 2014


 by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Edmund Blair/James Macharia,(FROM REUTERS)

Position: President of the United Republic of Tanzania Incumbent: Jakaya Kikwete Date of Birth: October 7, 1950 Term: Sworn-in November 6, 2010 for a second and final five-year term. 

Key facts: Kikwete, a Muslim backed by the party that has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961, swept to power in 2005 with a landslide 80.3 percent of the vote, promising a "better life for every Tanzanian." But his share of the vote fell to 61 percent in 2010, signalling rising public discontent about widespread poverty and youth unemployment.

He is credited with presiding over rapid economic growth averaging 7 percent a year, but his government is blamed for not sharing out wealth enough in the poor nation of 45 million.

Kikwete has pledged to pass a new constitution before presidential and parliamentary elections, expected in October 2015, but the main opposition parties boycotted an assembly writing the code after Kikwete's Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party rejected proposals for a federal system of government. That could hurt chances of completing the document before Kitwete steps down at the end of his final term.

The challenge Kikwete faces is to avoid being distracted by stalemate over the constitution and push through a legal and regulatory framework to govern the rapidly-growing gas industry before leaving office. He has pledged to set up a sovereign wealth fund to help manage revenues from big offshore finds.

He has not named a successor in line with Tanzania's political tradition that has seen peaceful power transfers between leaders from the ruling party, but he will chair meetings to pick CCM's presidential candidate and will have to manage tensions that could cause rifts.

Kikwete, a graduate of economics from the University of Dar es Salaam, served in the army before taking early retirement in 1992 to concentrate on politics. He was Tanzania's longest-serving foreign minister, holding the post for 10 years, before becoming president. 


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