Dar es Salaam. The Registrar of Political Parties in Tanzania, Judge (rtd) Francis Mutungi, has written another letter to the leading opposition political party Chadema demanding an explanation regarding violations that were allegedly committed in Dar es Salaam by some of the party’s leaders and supporters on February 16, 2018.
In the letter – dated March 1, 2018, and bearing reference number: HA.322/362/16/37 – Judge Mutungi says Chadema’s explanation in response to an earlier letter from the registrar didn’t provide a satisfactory explanation by directly responding to the registrar’s main argument.
The Chadema response was in the form of a letter dated February23, and bearing reference number C/HQ/AMN/17/MSJ/04/115.
Commenting on the registrar’s second letter, the Chadema director of ‘Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs,’ Mr John Mrema, said the party would respond to the registrar today (Monday, March 5, 2018).
“We are surprised that Judge Mutungi has branded himself the political parties’ regulator, contrary to the ‘Political Parties Act.’ He is a judge who is supposed to lead his institution professionally,” Mr Mrema said.
In his second letter to Chadema, Judge Mutungi says the party violated the Political Parties Act number 5 of 1992 when its national chairman, Mr Freeman Mbowe, uttered ‘hate statements’ at the party’s meeting on February 16 which was held at the Mwananyamala-kwa-Kopa area in the Kinondoni municipality of Dar es Salaam city.
At that meeting, Mr Mbowe was quoted in the registrar’s letter as saying: ‘I will lead the fight in this country, and we should be ready to carry coffins in this country. A hundred dead Tanzanians will provide this country with justice!’
Therefore – the registrar continues in his letter, “I reiterate my call demanding explanations within five days from March 2 to March 6 (sic) this year. Explanations should provide answers (to) why legal actions should not be extended against Chadema for violating the law and regulations!”
In his first letter that was addressed to the Chadema secretary general, dated February 21 this year – and bearing reference number: HA.322/362/16/34 – Mr Mutungi directed Chadema to file its response (by way of the required ‘explanations’) with his office before February 25.
The demonstrations in question by Chadema were staged on February 16 – on the eve of the by-election for the Kinondoni parliamentary constituency on February 17.
Although the opposition party was demonstrating peacefully, the police nonetheless sought to disperse them, using force of arms and tear gas. That was how and when a stray bullet hit and killed a National Institute of Transport (NIT) student, Ms Akwilina Akwilini, who was later buried in her home village in Rombo district on the slopes of the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro.
But, addressing reporters on February 23, the party’s acting secretary general, Mr John Mnyika, questioned the registrar’s office on what measures it has taken to find a lasting solution to the spate of tragic atrocities that are being perpetrated by ‘persons unknown’ against Chadema cadres.
“The section of the law which he (the political parties registrar) refers to as having been violated by Chadema was in fact specifically formulated for provisionally-registered political parties as they awaited permanent registration,” Mnyika said.
“During the grace period (between provisional and permanent registration), political parties are supposed to give commitment to protect peace and security in the country,” the acting Chadema secretary general said.