Dar es Salaam. As campaigns for civic elections begin today, the government has revealed that the process would not take place in areas, where candidates, mainly from the ruling CCM, have sailed through unopposed as most of those from the opposition were disqualified on various grounds.
The government, through the permanent secretary in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Joseph Nyamuhanga, insisted that the civic elections would take place on November 24 as had earlier been scheduled despite the decision by several key opposition parties to opt out of the process.
Mr Nyamuhanga said the preparation for the elections were almost complete.
According to him, out of 12,319 villages a total of 6,837 candidates (equivalent to 55 per cent) have sailed through unopposed, while 1,279 contestants (equivalent to 30 per cent) in 4,263 streets have also sailed through unopposed.
“In all places, where the candidates have sailed through un-opposed there wouldn’t be any political campaigns; initially we had about 100,000 polling stations across the country but due the fact some (candidates) sailed through unopposed the number will drop significantly,” said Mr Nyamuhanga.
He called authorities including the police and returning officers to make sure that the election is conducted in fair and peaceful environment.
But as the government continued to maintain its stance that civic elections must be held as planned, seven opposition parties, on the other hand, insisted that they would not take part in the elections citing irregularities, including lack of a free and fair body to monitor the electoral process.
The parties are Chadema, ACT Wazalendo, CCK, NLD, UPDP, Chauma and NCCR-Mageuzi.
Addressing reporters from Chadema headquarters in the city yesterday, party’s vice chairman Prof Abdallah Safari urged religious leaders, peace lovers and statesmen and women to intervene and help the country from descending into abyss because the electoral process was being undertaken in circumstances that lacked transparency and fairness to all players.
During the nomination of candidates, the opposition cried foul play lamenting that aspirants from their parties had been disqualified illegally and for baseless reasons while those of the ruling CCM mostly got qualified.
The opposition further claimed that the manner in which the civic polls were being prepared was setting a bad precedent ahead of the 2020 General Election, alleging the ruling CCM was undermining democratic principles the country.
For his part, the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT)-Wazalendo Party Leader Zitto Kabwe said all was not lost because they are still consulting with various groups to try and rescue the situation. He called for Tanzanians to remain calm.
Though not represented at the press conference, the Civic United Front (CUF) has also announced that it was going to boycott the elections.
However, only some opposition parties that have no representation in Parliament announced that they would take part in the civic elections.
‘I don’t see any need for boycotting the elections because it is our responsibility as political parties to do so,” said Mr Rashid Rai, party’s chairman.