Tanzania: Case to Block Political Parties Bill Temporarily Adjourned

Dar es Salaam — A constitutional case filed by three opposition leaders at the High Court to challenge the amendment of the Political Parties Act of 1992 has been temporarily adjourned.

A news alert sent Friday on January 11, 2019 by the ACT Wazalendo party's secretary of ideology, publicity and public communications, Ado Shaibu, says the case has been adjourned to pave the way for the court to hear objections submitted by the state when it resumes.

The case was filed by ACT Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe, CUF acting deputy secretary general Joram Bashange and CUF's Director of Information, Publicity and Public Communication, Mr Salim Biman.

The case, filed under a certificate of urgency on December 20, was based on the argument that the proposed amendments to the law were attempts by the government to exclude opposition parties from engaging in political activities.

The goal of filing the case is, therefore, to block the Bill from being debated in the august House later this month (January 2019) so that to give room for further negotiations on the planned law before it goes through the approval processes.

But, Mr Kabwe told a press conference earlier that a coalition of ten opposition parties was of the view that the Bill contravened the Constitution of 1977 of the United Republic of Tanzania.

He said the proposed changes contained in the Bill aimed at suppressing the opposition and criminalising all political activities.

"We call upon all our members to turn up here at the court in large numbers to hear this case so that democratic people can see we are taking action," said Mr Zitto.

The case comes for hearing today, with the Attorney General being the respondent. The opposition parties are represented by advocates Mpare Mpoki and Daimu Halfani.

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