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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May 2005, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Profile: Tanzania's friendly politician
John Ngahyoma
BBC's in Dar es Salaam

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has been chosen as the candidate of Tanzania's ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi in the 30 October elections.

Jakaya Kikwete
Politics rules Kikwete's life
As the CCM has ruled Tanzania since independence, the chances are that Mr Kikwete will be the country's next leader.

A handsome, light-skinned man born in the historic town of Bagamoyo, he showed his passion for politics from his school days.

Soon after completing his university studies he opted for a low-paying job as a secretary general of a CCM branch in rural Tanzania, instead of taking a well-paying job in town.

This decision soon paid off when President Alhaji Ali Hassan Mwinyi elevated him to become a deputy minister.


Mr Kikwete, 55, is a softly-spoken former military officer who retired from the army with the rank of a lieutenant colonel.

He is an economist who acquired his first degree at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1970s.

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa
Mkapa defeated Kikwete in 1995 primaries
He has served as a minister for about 17 years now - 10 of them as foreign affairs minister in President Benjamin Mkapa's government.

Mr Mkapa is stepping down after serving two terms as president.

His chance at the top job comes after Mr Kikwete was beaten by Mr Mkapa in the 1995 CCM primaries.

He lost in the final round of voting after getting more votes than Mr Mkapa in the first round.

Mr Kikwete is an easy-going, friendly man.

Apart from being a minister, he is a keen sportsman and is a patron of the national basketball association.

Bible collection

He is however a no-nonsense man when it comes to defending what he believes in - a vigour which could be mistaken for arrogance.

His record as a party stalwart is unquestionable and politics rules his life.

Mr Kikwete has a strong personal touch, happy to share a joke with journalists when interviews are over.

Although he is a Muslim, he received seven bibles as presents - the first one from Tanzania's first, first lady Mama Maria Nyerere, the wife of former president Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere - when he was campaigning to be CCM candidate.

He won't take full control of the party for another two years, when he is due to become CCM chairman.

He promises that the party - and the country - will be in good hands.

Timeline: Tanzania
19 Apr 05 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Tanzania
01 Mar 05 |  Country profiles

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