Tanzania: Opposition Scoffs At CCM 99.9 Per Cent Polls Sweep

(file photo).

Dar es Salaam — Opposition parties are unimpressed after the ruling CCM scooped 99.9 per cent of seats in Sunday's local government elections.

Announcing the results on Monday, the Minister of State in the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Selemani Jafo, said the ruling party scooped 99.9 per cent of village and street chairmanship seats.

The minister also announced that Chadema and CUF clinched one village chairmanship each. The two parties along with ACT-Wazalendo will also be represented in some village governments after their candidates were elected members. However, Chadema insisted yesterday that it would not recognise those who were elected to civic seats because the party did not field any candidate following its decision to boycott the elections.

Chadema director of protocol, communications and foreign affairs John Mrema said those who were elected through the party's ticket in Sunday's elections were "CCM puppets".

"How can Chadema sail through in some of the posts unopposed while we didn't field candidates in the elections?"he queried.

"The minister told us (before the elections) that CCM had fielded candidates in all areas across the country. Now he is telling us that we have won unopposed in some areas, it doesn't make sense."

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Speaking to The Citizen, CUF secretary-general (mainland) Magdalena Sakaya said the party does not harbour any grudge towards those who were elected because it is their constitutional right.

However, she insisted that the party stood by its decision to boycott the elections due to "massive irregularities" during the nomination exercise.

Mr James Mbatia, who is the NCCR-Mageuzi national chairman, labelled the elections a "crude joke".

"You can't participate in elections held in such an environment...it is a joke... even the late father of the nation wouldn't have approved of CCM claiming to have won almost 100 per cent of the seats, bearing in mind that Tanzania is supposed to be a multiparty country," he said.

Other parties which boycotted the elections are UPDP, Chauma and CCK.

Some political stakeholders expressed their concern about the way the elections were conducted. Dr George Kahangwa, a senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, said the entire process shows that democratic space in the country is rapidly shrinking.

"There is a huge problem which Tanzanians must be aware of because if what has transpired in the just concluded local elections will occur in the next general election it might have dire consequences," he warned.

For his part, a lawyer from the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Mr Fulgence Massawe, said the elections have exposed serious weaknesses in electoral laws. According to him, for one to hold a seat he/she must have political legitimacy which comes from the people.

"How can someone hold political office when no one voted them into office in the first place? Even if he/she was the sole candidate people should have go to the polls to give him/her political legitimacy, just like we did during the single party era," he said.

Efforts to reach Mr Jafo for comment proved unsuccessful, but his deputy, Mr Mwita Waitara, said the elections were over and people should concentrate on development activities.

According to official results announced on Monday, CCM won all 4,263 seats for streets.

The party also won 12,260 village chairmanship seats or 99.9 per cent, leaving only one seat each for Chadema and CUF.

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