Tanzania's Opposition Chadema Unveils Timetable for Delayed Internal Elections

Dar es Salaam — The opposition Chadema has finally announced the timetable for its internal elections.

The schedule was announced yesterday, a few days after the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties directed the party to submit a timetable for its internal elections without delay. Deputy registrar Sisty Nyahoza on November 6 gave Chadema until November 11 to submit a timetable for the party's general meeting in which it will hold elections. Chadema failed to meet the deadline.

Yesterday's announcement followed repeated reminders from the Office the Registrar of Political Parties, which had since written twice to the party's secretary-general seeking to know why there had been no elections despite the expiry of the tenure of the current leadership.

In response, Chadema defended itself by explaining that delayed elections were nothing unusual, and that its constitution allowed for the extension of leaders' tenures.

The party also said the prevailing political situation in the country made it difficulty to organise elections at the national level.

It directed part of the blame at the Police Force, saying it had more than once interfered in the party's activities, including preventing it from holding internal preparatory meetings that were key to the planning of elections.

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Briefing reporters at the party's headquarters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, secretary-general Vincent Mashinji said the picking up and returning of forms for contesting various leadership positions began yesterday, and would be closed on November 30.

Chadema members would first elect leaders to head various party wings before voting to elect national leaders. "After the exercise of picking up and returning forms is completed, there will be a series of party meetings which will start on December 7 when the Central Committee will convene to vet the names of all those who will have applied to contest various leadership positions," Dr Mashinji said.

The executive committees of the party's youth and elders' wings will meet on December 8 and will be followed on December 9 by the general meeting in which wing leaders will be elected.

Dr Mashinji said on December 10 the executive committees of the elders' and youth wings will meet before the women's wing executive committee convenes after which a general meeting will take place on December 12.

After the completion of the electoral process for the wings, the Central Committe will meet on December 16 to approve the names of candidates for national posts.

This will be followed by a general meeting on December 17 in which the party's general council will approve candidates' names that will be forwarded to the general meeting.

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