15 April 2019

East Africa: Four Parties Sue Government At EA Court Over Political Parties Act

Dar es Salaam — Four opposition parties have sued the government at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) over the recent amendments of the political parties act No 1 of 2019.

The amended act, which was signed by President John Magufuli on February 13, 2019 and published in government gazette 10 days later, has created a public debate.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam, today April 15, on behalf of four political parties, the chairman of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) Freeman Mbowe said their submission has been registered with the EACJ.

Other Plaintiffs in the case apart from Freeman Mbowe are Salum Mwalimu- the Chadema deputy secretary general, Zitto Kabwe and Seif Shariff Hamad of ACT -Wazalendo, while the defendant is the office of Attorney General of the government of United Republic of Tanzania.

The basis of the case, according to Mr Mbowe, is that the new act was enacted by changing and adding some sections which are against the basis of establishing the East African Community (EAC), especially section 6, 7 and 8 of the EAC protocol.

"First we are opposing the whole act and we request the EACJ to stop this law from implementation until the basic case is heard," Mbowe said.

He said the law criminalizes democracy in Tanzania, which is contrary with the protocol to establish EAC and was passed by force, despite of the outcries by political stakeholders.

"Apart from violating human rights, the act also is against the constitution of United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 and its amendments as well as the basics of good governance and international conventions of which Tanzania is a signatory," he said.

He added that they have decided to open the case at the EACJ because of limited time to open it at the local courts, but he noted that after this case, they will open another in the local judicial system.

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