CHADEMA party has suspended presidential campaigns in compliance with the seven-day ban imposed against its flag-bearer Mr Tundu Lissu, but vowed to challenge the suspension at the High Court.
On Friday, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Ethics Committee announced the decision to ban Mr Lissu from conducting campaigns for seven days effective from last Saturday, for violating the General Election Code of Conduct of 2020. He was found guilty of making seditious remarks in one of his campaign rallies.
Chadema's Central Committee that convened in Dar es Salaam on Saturday to discuss the punishment imposed on its aspirant asked him to comply with the ban, while seeking legal intervention.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Chadema Chairman Mr Freeman Mbowe said the party's Central Committee which convened on Saturday, was disappointed with the punishment and would challenge it in the court of law.
"The party's Central Committee has instructed our legal department to lodge a case immediately at the high court to challenge the suspension, we know that the judgment may not come out on time, but this is for records," he said.
He said the central committee has also asked Mr Lissu to comply with the suspension, and that during his suspension, their presidential candidate would engage himself in social activities in his capacity as the Chadema vice-chairperson.
"We shall arrange some specific social activities that he will be doing for the next seven days as the vice chairman, so he won't be sleeping," he explained.
Mr Lissu, in his quick rejoinder after the suspension was announced, noted that he was preparing to proceed with campaigns that were set for Sunday (yesterday) but provided room for the party's central committee to decide on the matter.
The decision to ban Mr Lissu from conducting campaign was announced by the Secretary of NEC Ethics Committee Mr Emmanuel Kawishe, saying the sentence was made following deliberation of complaints against the Chadema aspirant filed by Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA) party to the Commission's Ethics Committee.
Mr Lissu is alleged to have claimed that CCM presidential flag bearer Dr John Magufuli, who is an incumbent President had convened a meeting with elections returning officers, referred to as District Executive Directors (DEDs), in the capital Dodoma to plot on the elections.
The Ethics Committee found Mr Lissu guilty of making seditious remarks, violating section 21(a) and (n) of the code of ethics for presidential, parliamentary and councillorship elections.
Last Thursday, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro directed Mr Lissu to report to Moshi Police Station for interrogation after he was accused of scolding the police when his convoy was hit by teargas on his way to Mara earlier this week.
In another development, Mr Mbowe said the Chadema has officially decided to support the ACT Wazalendo Presidential candidate for Zanzibar Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, and that plans are underway for the two parties to cooperate in other electorate seats.
"The central committee has instructed our technical teams to evaluate and analyze constituencies and wards that our parties would cooperate," he said.