Dar es Salaam. The National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) yesterday said it was imperative for openness to prevail during the ruling CCM party’s primary elections, as well as during the General Election slated for October 28 this year.
CCM’s primaries in some parliamentary constituencies, as well as those for obtaining candidates for the Union and Zanzibar presidencies, were broadcast live on both mainstream and social media channels.
Relaying Bakwata’s message during the Idd-ul-Adha celebrations that were held at the national level at the Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam, Sheikh Nuhu Mruma dwelt on President John Magufuli’s pledge that the elections would be free and fair.
“We take this as the country’s stand, and we should not start building up fears that are not justified, he said. Speaking on the primaries, Sheikh Mruma said they were transparent, describing this as a sure sign that democracy is getting entrenched in Tanzania.
“The primaries were very transparent, and this helped to clear doubts that there was corruption,” he said, adding that “we expect as much during the comingGeneral Election.”
He also called on Tanzanians to use their constitutional right to participate in the electoral processes to freely chose their political leaders for the next five years.
Sheikh Mruma added that, as the country gears up for election campaigns, candidates from all political parties should adhere to laid-down procedures and the laws of the land in order to protect the country’s peace and stability.
“Our belief is that the National Electoral Commission (NEC), as well as other authorities supervising the elections, will also adhere to the rules governing elections so as to ensure they are free and fair,” he said.
Reacting to the foregoing, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa - who was the guest of honour at the event - assured Bakwata leaders that the elections will be free and fair.
“It is possible to conduct free and fair elections. But we must avoid provocative language - and, instead, candidates should focus on convincing voters, expounding on positive developments Tanzanians should expect from them,”he said.
Other leaders who attended the event were the minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment), Mr Mussa Zungu; the deputy minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Abdallah Ulega, and the deputy minister for Home Affairs, Mr Hamad Yusuf Masauni
For his part, the Tanzania Mufti, Sheikh Aboubakar Zubeir, called upon all Muslims and Tanzanians to maintain peace and stability as the country prepares for the October elections. They should also ensure that they elect exemplary leaders.
The Kilimanjaro Region Deputy Sheikh, Shaban Mlewa, urged Muslims to pray for the country to get good leaders who will bring about functional development.
Sheikh Mlewa said this yesterday when speaking at the Idd-ul-Adha prayers at the Riadha Mosque in Moshi Municipality.
“Religious leaders should shun politics of hate as we prepare for the General Election. They must also frown upon corruption and the tendency to take sides blindly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tanga municipal council Mayor who has completed his term, Mr Mhina Mustapher called on Muslims to remain united and work for country’s peace and development.