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Chaos threat looms ahead of 2015 General Election

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The executive director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, Ms Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, Who describes the violent wrangles as gross abuse of human rights and warns that the country will see more of them if measures to curb them are not timely taken. PHOTO|FILE 

By The Citizen Reporter

Posted  Sunday, January 12  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

  • Analysts and politicians have warned that if the trend is not timely checked, it could greatly undermine the polls, sow seeds of instability, tarnish Tanzania’s good record of political tolerance and cordial politicking.
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Dar es Salaam. With about a year to go before the next general election, a worrying trend in intra-party politics has emerged in the country, whereby internal wrangles and differences among leaders are increasingly leading to violent skirmishes between members of rival factions.

Analysts and politicians have warned that if the trend is not timely checked, it could greatly undermine the polls, sow seeds of instability, tarnish Tanzania’s good record of political tolerance and cordial politicking.

They also argue that the drift towards intra-party violence does not augur well for consolidating democracy, promotion of good governance and respect of human rights.

Tanzanians are not used to members of a political party exchanging blows and stoning one another like it happened recently in Dar es Salaam during the ruling of a judicial case involving Chadema leaders. The political violence common in the country has seen battles between security organs and supporters of the opposition.

Cases and claims of abductions like that of a Chadema youth in Dar es Salaam’s Temeke District, being carried out by members of the same party are unprecedented and a clear warning for the country to quickly deal with the looming threat of severe consequences of violent intra-party politics.

The executive director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, Ms Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, describes the violent wrangles as gross abuse of human rights and warns that the country will see more of them if measures to curb them are not timely taken.

“Abducting and torturing an individual is a wrong thing no matter the reason…our political parties should know that power struggle is a common thing in democracy, at times they ought to agree to disagree but unfortunately they exercise zero tolerance and that is bad for democracy and national safety,” she said.

She made her comments in reference to the reported abduction, torture and dumping of Chadema’s youth wing chairman, Mr Joseph Yona early this week. The unknown assailants dumped him at Ununio forest on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

His ordeal has been linked with his party’s internal strife. Mr Yona is said to be a supporter of the embattled Kigoma North MP, Mr Zitto Kabwe, who late last year fell out with the top Chadema leadership which has accused him of plotting to topple party chairman Freeman Mbowe.

Chadema’s central committee (CC) gave Zitto two weeks to respond to the 11 accusations levelled against him. At the same time as he made his reply, Zitto took legal action to obtain an injunction to prevent the CC from taking any new disciplinary measures against him. The legal saga has not only further strained relations between the rival factions of the party, whose partisans fought during hearings and rulings of the case, but together with the sanctions taken against Mr Zitto are said to have pushed Chadema into the verge of implosion.

The ruling party itself has not been spared of unprecedented disillusionment by some of its members. In 2012, CCM held elections to pick party wing leaders in Dodoma that were alleged to have been influenced by corruption.

Some party members even protested the elections with placards naming what they believed were financiers of the dirty politics.

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