12 December 2017

Tanzania: Opposition Threatens to Boycott January By-Elections

Photo: The Citizen
CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, Humphrey Polepole.

The opposition Ukawa coalition yesterday threatened to boycott parliamentary and civic by-elections scheduled for next month.

The coalition said parties under the Ukawa umbrella would field candidates in the by-elections in three constituencies and six wards only if the government would convene a stakeholders' meeting to discuss and find solutions to irregularities that were evident during by-elections held in 43 wards on November 26.

Ukawa's position was announced by Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe during a press conference that was also attended by representatives of NCCR-Mageuzi, the Civic United Front (CUF), National League for Democracy (NLD) and Chama cha Ukombozi wa Umma (Chaumma).

Mr Mbowe said political parties had been given "a very short time" to prepare for the elections, adding that irregularities that threatened democracy in the country also needed to be addressed.

"We want stakeholders, including political parties, the National Electoral Commission, Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, civil society and police, to meet and find common ground as far as irregularities that marred last month's elections are concerned. This is crucial if we hope to have a level playing field in the forthcoming elections," he said.

NEC has set January 13 as the date on which voters in Songea Urban, Longido and Singida North constituencies will elect their MPs. Civic elections will also take place in six wards across the country on the same day. The opposition ACT-Wazalendo has already suspended its nominations for the by-elections, pending a decision by the party's Central Committee.

Yesterday, Mr Mbowe said last month's by-elections were marred by the intimidation and harassment of opposition agents and supporters and the involvement of regional and district commissioners in "rigging" the polls in favour of CCM candidates, adding that the issue must be discussed before next month's by-elections. CCM won 42 of the 43 seats that were up for grabs. Mr Mbowe also queried NEC's decision to include Longido in the by-elections before Chadema's appeal against the unseating of Mr Onesmo ole Nangole by the High Court was determined.

's victory need to be established," he said.

In another development, Mr Mbowe said the government will not succeed in killing the multiparty democracy in the country because the system is the lifestyle of the people.

He said the opposition will adopt alternative measures for addressing difficulties created by the CCM government.

"We will intensify our demands on independent electoral commission, restoration of the new Katiba writing process, respect to constitution and human rights in higher spirits," he said, adding.

CCM secretary of Ideology and Publicity, Humphrey Polepole told a press conference on November 27, this year that party's victory in 42 wards during the November 26 elections was a result of party's scientific approach.

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