9 January 2013

Tanzania: Inactive Political Parties Risk Being Deregistered

THE Registrar of Political Parties, Judge John Tendwa, said that his office will carry out an audit on the activeness of political parties after every five years.

He added that inactive parties will face deregistration. Judge Tendwa also said that the political landscape in the country had changed significantly, with opposition parties strongly challenging the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

Speaking to a section of reporters in Dar es Salaam, the registrar revealed that the audit would be aimed at ensuring that political parties are doing politics as per the intention of their establishment and the country remains free from 'briefcase' political parties.

"My office will be conducting an audit on the political activeness of political parties every five years. This audit is expected to be conducted shortly after general elections," he said. Judge Tendwa noted that political parties were required to participate in politics including fielding candidates for various posts in all major elections as the major objective of any political party is to lead the country through the ballot box.

"All the political parties are supposed to have candidates in various elections and engage in serious politics," he stressed. The Registrar said that after an audit has been conducted, political parties will be ranked in number one to four and that there will be percentages where those scoring between 0 and 4 per cent will be considered inactive.

In another development, Mr Tendwa noted that his office would consider putting in place stronger criteria for a party to qualify for permanent registration. He added that pending views from stakeholders, his office may consider increasing number of members needed in each region for the party to qualify for registration.

Currently a party is required to have active 200 members. Mr Tendwa noted that in this aspect, the existing political parties will also be involved in giving their views on the better way to go. Meanwhile, Mr Tendwa said that the country's political landscape is changing rapidly as opposition seems to pose challenges to the longtime ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

He also noted that the dynamism was vividly seen in the previous general election (2010) where the Civic United Front (CUF) witnessed a blow as it was forced to go down to number three after CCM and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA).

"The unpredictability of politics shows that opposition can grow just like NCCR-Mageuzi and TLP witnessed a bounce back by taking to the National Assembly its representatives and now the two parties are enjoying subsidy," he said. Mr Tendwa sees the dynamism as a challenge to the ruling-CCM and he thinks that the giant political party will have to be smart in the coming elections if it is to remain at the helm.

He said that CCM has to critically assess its policies and see where it went wrong in the previous elections and make sure that any shortfall is dealt with before the forthcoming general elections. The Registrar noted that if CCM was to outsmart vibrant opposition parties, it should be very keen in selecting a person who is stronger and reputable to fly the party's flag in 2015.

He reiterated that political parties should make sure that politics are being conducted in a peaceful manner and that no one should die because of political activities. "Political parties should carry out clean politics and shun any utterances or activities that will lead into breach of peace and harmony," added Judge Tendwa.

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