Opposition applauds Bunge team for work on party bill

Chadema Deputy Secretary General (Zanzibar), Salum Mwalimu addressing the press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, about the amendment to a bill of political parties held by the Parliamentary Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee. Left is the Chauma political party’s Chairman, Hashim Rungwe and Act Wazalendo Chairperson, Jeremiah Maganja. PHOTO BY ERICKY BONIPHACE

What you need to know:

  • The leaders of the coalition want the committee to continue exercising its constitutional mandate in order to prevent the country from falling into a political chaos

Dar es Salaam. A coalition of 10 opposition political parties yesterday commended the parliamentary committee on constitution and legal affairs on what they described as the foresightedness of its members for recognising the danger that some sections of the proposed party bill pose to the country’s political diversity and thus demanding them scraped off.

During a meeting with journalists yesterday, which came following their meeting with the committee that took place last week, the parties pointed out that although there remains a significant role to be played by the committee to make the proposed party bill relevant to the country’s political climate, they were pleased with what has so far been achieved.

Using the committee’s suggestions on the bill, the opposition leaders made four major observations. The first was that those sections that the opposition complained about, the committee suggested their improvements or total removal from the bill. There are some sections that the opposition expressed concern, but the committee chose to leave them intact.

There are some sections that the opposition did not complain about, but the committee has asked for clarification and there are issues, which are not covered in the current bill, which the committee has demanded them to be included.

Speaking on behalf of his fellow opposition leaders yesterday, Chadema deputy secretary general (Zanzibar) Salim Mwalimu said among the issues they stressed in their meetings with the parliamentary committee is for the latter to unwaveringly exercise its constitutional mandate so that it can prevent the country from entering into a political misunderstanding, which would ensue should the bill be passes into law in its current form.

“We reminded the committee of how politics can be the mirror through which other people from other parts of the world can look at us. A country with dirty politics can never have a positive reputation,” said Mr Mwalimu, flanked by the national chairman of the Chama cha Ukombozi wa Umma (Chauma), Mr Hashim Rungwe and ACT-Wazalendo national chairman Yeremia Maganja. Among the issues that pleased the opposition is the decision by the committee to demand the presence of special considerations that would determine the party registrar’s decision on which programmes for civic education and capacity building to party members and leaders to accept and what not to accept. The bill had given the registrar a carte blanche to decide on the requests basing merely on his own discretion.

The committee also rejected sections of the bill that give the registrar permission to request information about a particular political party from any member of the party. The members of the committee demanded that information should only be requested from party leaders and not otherwise.

The coalition also expressed appreciation of the committee’s decision to reject sections of the bill that gives the registrar, deputy-registrar and all officers at the office of registrar immunity from prosecution. The section six of the bill, the committee demanded, should be redrafted so as to make its readership corresponds to the current Political Party Act.

The committee also rejected provisions of the bill that seeks to bar political parties from operating as pressure groups.