Dar es Salaam. Four opposition parties have agreed to support Chadema candidates in the February 17 Kinondoni and Siha parliamentary by-elections.
NCCR-Mageuzi, Chaumma, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the Civic United Front (CUF) faction led by Mr Seif Shariff Hamad agreed not to field candidates in the polls.
“We will support Chadema’s candidate in Kinondoni because the constituency was in the hands of Ukawa before the MP defected to the ruling party,” Chaumma chairman Hashim Rungwe said.
He said the parties boycotted the last by-elections because there was “no way the opposition could have won on a playing field that was not level”.
“However, we now believe that the forthcoming by-elections will be free and fair and that Salum Mwalimu will carry the day in Kinondoni,” he said.
NCCR-Mageuzi secretary-general Juju Danda said Ukawa had not convened an official meeting to decide whether or not to take part in the by-elections or who to support, adding that what had been decided was “a gentleman’s agreement”.
“We have decided to offer our full support to the Chadema candidates,” he said.
His NLD counterpart, Mr Tozi Matwanga, shared similar sentiments.
Meanwhile, ACT-Wazalendo said yesterday that it would not take part in the Kinondoni and Siha by-elections because the authorities had failed to assure them that the polls would be free, fair and credible.
“Following internal party reviews conducted after the previous civic by-elections, we rule out the possibility of taking part in the February 17 by-elections,” ACT-Wazalendo deputy secretary-general Msafiri Mtemelwa said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Chadema and the four other Ukawa parties boycotted the January 13 parliamentary by-elections in Songea Urban, Singida North and Longido constituencies over what they said were unresolved issues regarding the civic by-elections held in 43 wards in November. They claimed that the civic by-elections were not free and fair and were rigged in CCM’s favour.
However, Chadema has decided to field candidates in Kinondoni and Siha in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro regions, respectively. Chadema’s candidate in Kinondoni is Mr Salum Mwalimu, while its flag-bearer in Siha is Mr Elvis Mosi. The two seats fell vacant after the area MPs defected to CCM towards the end of last year.
CCM’s candidate in Kinondoni is Mr Maulid Mtulia, who is seeking to regain the seat through the ruling party following his defection. Dr Gowin Mollel will represent CCM in the Siha by-election. Dr Mollel won the seat through Chadema in 2015 before defecting to CCM last year.
The National Electoral Commission elections director Ramadhani Kailima said yesterday that preparations for the by-elections had been completed.
“All materials are ready and will be transported to the areas on time,” he said.
Additional reporting by Hellen Nachilongo