Campaigns for October polls kick off in Tanzania

The deputy returning officer for Bukombe Constituency in Geita Region, Mr Honorati Mtasigwa, removes candidates’ nomination forms from the notice board on Wednesday after the 4pm deadline elapsed without any objection being lodged. PHOTO | ERNEST MAGASHI

What you need to know:

NEC director of Elections, Dr Wilson Charles, told The Citizen that a team of NEC officials were working on claims from political parties before announcing the fate of the aspirants.

Dar es Salaam. The main Opposition party, Chadema, is launching its election campaigns at Zakhem grounds in Dar es Salaam today, while the ruling CCM is expected to start its re-election bid in Dodoma tomorrow ahead of the October General Election.

The Civic United Front (CUF) will launch its campaigns on Thursday, September 3, in Mtwara, while ACT-Wazalendo’s plans for its curtain raiser will depend on the outcomes of objections lodged at the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Both Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo have submitted objections to NEC challenging disqualification of its candidates for parliamentary seats and councillorship.

Chadema’s deputy secretary general (Mainland) Benson Kigaila told The Citizen yesterday that the Opposition party plans to launch its campaigns in Dar es Salaam for three consecutive days.

“After the Zakhem launching tomorrow (today), the events will be held at the Tanganyika Packers grounds and Tabata Liwiti grounds this Saturday and Sunday respectively,” he said. He said party election campaigns will then be organised zone wise, outlining respective regions in each zone and corresponding date as: Arusha (August 31); Mwanza (September 1) and Shinyanga (September 2).

Others are: Tabora (September 3); Dodoma (September 4); Mbeya (September 5); Mtwara (September 6) and Unguja and Pemba (September 8). Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu and his running mate Salum Mwalimu will thereafter commence constituency wise campaigns on September 8, whereas Mr Lissu will hold rallies in Kibaha, Chalinze, Morogoro, Mikumi and all the way to the Nyasa Zone.

“On the same day, his running mate, Mr Mwalimu, will commence rallies in the Bagamoyo Constituency on his way to the Northern Zone,” he said over phone.

Speaking to The Citizen, CCM’s secretary for Political Affairs and International Relations, Colonel (rtd) Ngemela Lubinga, said preparations for tomorrow’s launch of election campaigns was underway.

“The event will take place at the country’s administrative capital, Dodoma, but regions have been instructed to hold similar events at their respective places according to how they are prepared,” he said.

He said the CCM 2020-2015 Election Manifesto would be sold effectively from Saturday and throughout the entire campaigns.

“The event will be graced by CCM’s presidential candidate, [Dr John Magufuli] and that various guests, cadres, members and supporters are also expected to attend,” he said.

ACT-Wazalendo national election campaign manager Emmanuel Mvula said the party’s plan for launching its campaigns in Mainland Tanzania will depend on the outcome of objections the party submitted to NEC challenging disqualification of its candidates especially for Ruangwa, Mtama and Nachingwea constituencies.

“Our plans were to launch our campaigns in the southern regions. We will amend our tactics and schedule if the decisions to disqualify our candidates in those areas will not be revoked because we can’t spend more resources at a place where our candidates have been disqualified,” he said.

On Monday, CUF’s national campaign manager Juma Kilagai said his party would launch its campaigns in Mtwara on September 3, this year.

Hundreds of candidates challenged, disqualified

But, yesterday, Mr Kigaila told a press conference that 73 candidates from Chadema, ACT-Wazalendo and CUF have been disqualified to stand for parliamentary seats, while over 640 councillorship aspirants have been eliminated and objections lodged against many others.

“NEC should immediately correct these anomalies, otherwise there will be No Elections,” he said.

ACT-Wazalendo’s secretary of Campaigns and Elections Mohamed Masaga claimed objections have been lodged to over 50 percent of the opposition party’s candidates and that 23 out of 168 parliamentary seat candidates have been eliminated unreasonably.

“Our belief is that justice will take its course within NEC as compared to the constituency levels and leave citizens to decide through the ballot box,” he said.

Political parties cry foul

Mr Kigaila said erring to fill nomination forms including candidates’ date of birth, denying candidates nomination forms and forgery of guarantor’s signatures have been cited as reasons to disqualify candidates from the opposition camp.

“NEC should ensure the opposition candidates, who were denied the documents, are provided and nominated to participate in the October electoral process. Our candidate for Mtama Constituency, Mr Seleman Mathew, should be released unconditionally and reinstated in the race,” he said.

In Zanzibar, ACT-Wazalendo deputy secretary general Nassor Ahmed Mazrui said their candidates were supposed to respond to objections that don’t hold water filed contrary to Regulation 51(1) – (8) of the Elections Act No. 4 of 2008.

But, NEC director of Elections, Dr Wilson Charles, told The Citizen that a team of NEC officials were working on claims from political parties before announcing the fate of the aspirants.

“We have received claims that are now being analysed to unveil the truth because there are false assertions,” he said, noting that he wasn’t aware of the number of disputed constituencies.

“The electoral body will decide accordingly after receiving the outcome of the said analysis of experts,” he elaborated.