Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Govt isn’t meddling in Kenya affairs: Mahiga

The Foreign Affairs and International

The Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga 

By Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The government has once again denied reports that it is meddling in Kenyan local politics ahead of the country’s General Election scheduled for next month.

The Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga (pictured), told The Citizen yesterday that reports that Tanzania was interfering in the Kenyan General Election were not based on the truth.

He was reacting to some media reports that claimed that the government of Tanzania supported National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga. Dr Mahiga, a seasoned diplomat, said Tanzania believed in democracy and would never interfere in any electoral process of either Kenya or any other country. “Tanzanians and Kenyans should understand that the political temperature in Kenya is, understandably, high due to the election scheduled for next month,” said Dr Mahiga.

“Rival camps are, therefore, using every technique to outperform one another, but the government of Tanzania is not siding with any of the two major camps,” added Dr Mahiga.

He noted that Tanzania would only get involved in neighbouring countries’ internal affairs only if it was asked to do so as it happened, when mediating the Kenyan 2007 post-election political crisis.

Dr Mahiga added that the government believed it was the duty and democratic right of Kenyan voters alone, through the ballot paper, to decide, who should be their President. In May this year, Kenyan National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale claimed President Magufuli had offered to host a parallel tallying centre that would be opened by Nasa.

Mr Odinga denied the allegations about the centre being located in Tanzania, but went ahead to defend the rationale of opening a parallel tallying centre to track votes as they came in from polling stations across the country. “Jubilee had a parallel tallying centre, which was at the Catholic University.

They also had their server connected to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) server through Kencall. But because Nasa wants to do parallel tallying, it has suddenly become a crime and top Jubilee leaders are running all over the place trying to give it a bad name,” Mr Odinga was quoted as saying last month.

Reports indicate that Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee administration has silently reached out to Tanzanian authorities through the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on the issue.

However, Dr Mahiga said the issue was not on the agenda of the Friday meeting with his Kenyan counterpart last Friday.

On Sunday, Chadema flag bearer in the 2015 presidential election Edward Lowassa told a section of the Kenyan media that the party was supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August polls.

Yesterday, Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT)-Wazalendo declared its support to Mr Odinga, who will contest for presidency through the opposition coalition, Nasa.

A statement signed by the party leader, Mr Zitto Kabwe, indicates that the party has scrutinised all party promises and manifestos in the ongoing campaigns and decided to support Nasa.