By The Guardian Team
The Civic United Front (CUF) party has demanded for the immediate disband of both Zanzibar and National Electoral Commissions before the next general elections slated for October next year.
Addressing a multitude of supporters who turned up for peaceful demonstrations at Kidongo Chekundu grounds in Dar es Salaam’s Kariakoo area yesterday, CUF national chairman Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba criticised the commissions saying they were favouring the ruling party.
Prof Lipumba said the growth of democracy in Tanzania would not be achieved unless independent and representational electoral commissions were formed in place of the existing ones.
The proposal was echoed by the party’s deputy secretary general (Zanzibar), Juma Duni, who spoke strongly about what he termed as contradictory gimmicks by the ruling party using the top leader in Zanzibar and the Union governments to appoint commissioners to the electoral bodies.
“Since the advent of the multiparty democracy started in 1992, the electoral commissions have been dancing to the tunes of the ruling party to the detriment of the opposition. We ask you, the Registrar of Political Parties to relay this message to the head of state, that we need a free and fair electoral commissions and not otherwise,” insisted Duni while gazing at the Political Party Registrar, John Tendwa who received the demonstration and addressed it. For his part, CUF general secretary Seif Shariff Hamad underscored the need for constitutional amendment to suit the tenets of democracy.
He also questioned the rationale for indiscriminate arrests by police of CUF leaders, including the party’s Special Seats MP for Tanga Region, Nuru Bafadhil, all in total violation of the constitutional privileges of legislators.
“We cannot promote democracy when people are restricted to speak. The president should be a bit more serious when fighting corruption and addressing the issue should not be taken as an offence,” said Hamad.
Responding to the demands, Tendwa pledged swift action insisting that all claims would be conveyed to relevant authorities, adding that his office was currently busy to form an advisory council–to draw members from the opposition parties as well.
Meanwhile, confusion reigned at the CCM regional headquarters in Dar es Salaam yesterday when party supporters from Madale area on the outskirts of the city stormed the offices to express their grievances.
They demanded explanation following incomprehensible decision by the regional party leadership to drop the nomination of local government chairman Gratian Mbelwa for the October 25 civic elections.
The enraged members said they wanted no one else apart from Mbelwa and threatened to cast their votes in support of the opposition if the regional party authorities retained Alex Mbuya as the party nominee.
The petitioners came from three CCM branches of Kisauke, Nakasangwe and Kawawa, which together form Madale community.
Speaking after arriving at the regional party headquarters situated at Lumumba Street, the members made it clear that they wanted Gratian Mbelwa who had served for the last five years to have another term in office.
They wondered why the regional executive committee omitted Mbelwa’s name and put his opponent, Mbuya.
“We want explanation on the circumstances that led to the omission of Mbelwa’s name. He is the leader of our choice. During his tenure in office he did a very good job, among others enhanced improvement of the basic social services,” said one Godliver Christopher.
Another member who identified herself as Veronica James said she backed Mbelwa because he helped Madale residents and those in the vicinity to construct two secondary schools, a dispensary and a vocational training school.
Also in the demonstration was CCM-Madale Publicity and Ideology Secretary Edson Msomba who threatened to defect to the opposition should the regional party leadership prevent Mbelwa from vying for the post.
Responding to their demands, CCM regional Publicity and Ideology Secretary Haji Manara said the party would come up with a lasting solution shortly. The demonstrators had by then gathered outside the regional headquarters for at least four.
“You have a very genuine concern which also needs genuine answers. This proves your allegiance to the party for development… I cannot say straightaway that Mbelwa’s candidacy will be restored immediately but just give your leaders time to sort this out,” said Manara.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN