Tanzania: Civic Polls Intact, Jafo Assures

EAGERLY awaited civic elections will be conducted as scheduled later this month despite the withdrawal of some opposition parties.

Already, two opposition parties- Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) and ACT-Wazalendo-have on different occasions announced their withdrawal from the polls, citing some procedural flaws.

But, Minister of State in the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Selemani Jafo told a wellattended news conference here yesterday that two political parties boycotting the elections will in no way deter other Tanzanians from exercising their constitutional right.

He said that all appeals submitted before the appeals committee would be heard and determined, assuring that he will today make public the outcomes of the petitions.

As of yesterday, about 13,500 appeals against the alleged malpractices had been submitted before the appeals committee, said Mr Jafo.

"The committee is still working on the appeals from all political parties and we will today issue a complete report on the applications that sailed through and those that failed," he said.

However, the minister quickly pointed out that in the forms that were submitted by aspirants in the eagerly awaited local government polls, many contestants were merely coping and pasting as per their parties' directives.

"In some instances, there were scenarios where others while filling in the forms, they claimed to have been born in 2019 while others signed on the space that demanded them to write dates," he said, maintaining that officials charged with perfecting the law and regulations of the civic polls had done justice.

Over all, Mr Jafo said, about 555,036 aspirants picked up the nomination forms to vie for the positions and 539,993 aspirants-equal to 97.29 per cent managed to return the forms.

On Friday, ACT-Wazalendo announced its withdrawal from the November 24 civic polls, claiming that the doors to democratic elections had been closed.

"We don't agree with the reasons given by the government and the ruling party. The party's governing committee that held its meeting on Friday decided that all other members whose forms were accepted should pull out of the race," ACT WAzalendo leader Zitto Kabwe was quoted as saying in the statement.

On Thursday, Chadema National Chairman Freeman Mbowe announced the pull out of his party from the polls, citing massive disqualification of its candidates.

However, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, through its Publicity and Ideology Secretary Humphrey Polepole, said the disqualification resulted from ignorance of the law, rules and regulations that governed the civil poll procedures on the part of opposition candidates.

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