We’ll not call off civic elections, says Tanzania government

Minister of State in President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Selemani Jafo

Dodoma. The government has insisted it will not call off the civic elections scheduled for November 24 even as some political parties announced boycotting the exercise because they had no faith in the electoral process.

Briefing journalists in Dodoma yesterday, the Minister of State in President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Selemani Jafo, said the government was aware that some political parties had opted out but plans would go ahead as earlier scheduled.

The minister, who oversees the docket responsible for civic elections, said political parties were entitled to either participate or not in the elections.

“We’ve learned via the media that some political parties have decided to boycott the civic polls scheduled for November 24, but we’ll not cancel the elections,” said Mr Jafo.

Some opposition parties and analysts have argued that if the trends observed during preparations towards civic polls would pass unaddressed, then they would set a dangerous precedent ahead of the 2020 general election.

Four opposition parties, namely, Chadema, ACT-Wazalendo, Chaumma and CCK, have already announced that they would not participate in the elections citing massive irregularities during preparations towards the polls.

However, eleven minor opposition parties--that have no representation in Parliament--have announced that they would participate in the election.

Announcing the decision, DP secretary general said it was their belief that the election would be free and fair.

Apart from DP, the other parties are: NRA, AFP, Demokrasia Makini, UDP, ADC, Ada-Tadea, Sauti ya Umma (Sau), TLP, CCK and UMB.

Speaking to reporters Mr Jafo said a total of 13,500 appeals were submitted to the District Administrative Secretaries (DAS) across the country. Mr Jafo said a total of 550,036 candidates have been nominated for this year’s civic election.

“By tomorrow (today), we will have the exact number of candidates who will vie for the civic elections after the verification exercise,” said Mr Jafo.

Announcing the decision, Chadema Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs director John Mrema said ruling party CCM should not celebrate as theirs would not be a victory in the true sense of the word but an act of sabotaging the will of the people, adding that such ‘victory’ was proof that the party was no longer acceptable to the people. ACT-Wazalendo Party leader Zitto Kabwe accused the authorities in various areas of colluding with the ruling party to disqualify the opposition.

But the CCM’s Publicity and Ideology secretary Humphrey Polepole played down the claims. According to him, most opposition candidates were disqualified on technical grounds. “Opposition candidates were disqualified due technical reasons, we (CCM) used more than 1,250 lawyers to help our candidates across the country,” said Mr Polepole on Thursday.