Tanzania: Zitto, UK Envoy Talks 'Violated Law' Says Registrar of Political Parties

Dar es Salaam — Registrar of Political Parties has written to the opposition ACT-Wazalendo to provide explanation on a meeting the party leader Zitto Kabwe held with the recently.

In the letter, the registrar says his office has received information from the press, citing Jamvi la Habari, that Mr Kabwe met and held talks with British High Commissioner Sarah Cooke at the envoy's Oyster Bay residence on supporting the par-ty to win the forthcoming election

"Reports from the media explained that their (Mr Kabwe and Ms Cooke) discussion centred on how to support ACT-Wazalendo to win the October General Election," reads the letter of June 12, 2020 that was signed by Deputy Registrar of Political Parties, Sisty Nyahoza.

ACT has been required to provide the details not later than June 19, this year.

"This is against the Political Parties Act, Chapter 258 which prevents the participation of non-citizens in the decision making of political parties," the letter reads in part.

Section 6 C (4) of the Political Parties Act prohibits non-citizens from participating in the decision making process of any political party with the aim of promoting the objectives of that party.

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Yesterday, Mr Nyahoza confirmed his office has demanded explanation from the opposition party on details of the meeting with the envoy.

"Yes, we have written to ACT-Wazalendo. We expect to get more information from them and work on it".

Registrar office is an autonomous institution responsible for political parties in the country and by the Political Parties Act, Chapter 258 has the mandate to summon and demand from a political party or a leader any information as may be required for implementation of this Act.

An official from the British High Communication declined to comment on the matter. "We cannot comment on that development at this time," said the official.

He said, however, that it was a long held tradition for high commissioners to hold talks with political leaders. Section 5B (1) of the Political Parties Act says the registrar may, in execution of his functions and responsibilities, demand from a political party or a leader any information as may be required for implementation of the act.

According to the section, a political party which contravenes the subsection shall be liable to a fine of not less than one million shillings but not exceeding 10 million shillings.

The section went further to state that a political party which contra-venes the section or provides false information to the Registrar commit an offence.

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