Dar es Salaam. Efforts by opposition legislators to have controversies surrounding participation of nominees of their parties in the coming civic polls debated hit a snag after the matter was ruled out.
Yesterday, opposition lawmakers asked the Speaker to suspend House normal business and debate on why many opposition nominees had their candidacy thrown out, particularly in rural areas, something they said denied their rights to participate in the coming civic elections.
Mtwara Urban MP Maftaha Nachuma (Cuf) and Magdalena Sakaya of Kaliua (Cuf) raised their voices demanding Parliament to debate the issue but Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai demanded to see evidence before allowing such a discussion.
Mr Maftaha said he had all the evidence ready and asked for permission to hand over the same to the Speaker so that Parliament would suspend its business and discuss the civic polls.
Special Seats MP Anatropia Theonist complained that despite the directive by the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Selemani Jafo, calling for returning officers to ensure smooth running of preparations towards the civic polls, the opposition candidates have been deliberately denied the chance to participate in the elections across the country.
Tunduma MP Frank Mwakajoka (Chadema) warned that if the government would not pay attention to the matter now, this could lead to chaos and breach of the peace.
Deputy Speaker Dr Tulia Akson urged MPs to be patient and wait for three days given by Minister Jafo for controversies to be solved, which end today, after which they can make their (Opposition MPs) case.
Outside the august House, aspirants from CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi, Chadema and TLP raised concerns over open violations of the electoral process by those entrusted with overseeing it, leading to some nominees being, allegedly, unfairly removed from the list of contestants.
They claimed that this was, however, not the case for those contesting on the ticket of the ruling party, CCM, some of whom have started celebrating sailing through unopposed.
Yesterday, opposition NCCR-Mageuzi said it would file a case in court to oppose the deliberate moves that denied equal treatment in collection and returning of nomination forms.
NCCR-Mageuzi Secretary General Hemed Msabaha said the acts by some returning officers to lock their offices and making themselves unavailable, particularly in Vunjo Constituency, for four days, was a deliberate move to violate election rules.
“We’ve decided to do two things. First, we have directed the deregistered nominees to appeal; and, secondly, we are going to court to oppose the process that locked our members out of the electoral process,” he said.
CUF chairman Ibrahim Lipumba called on President John Magufuli to intervene and ensure fairness.
“The President must intervene with a view to avoid a breach of peace. I ask him to extend the deadline of collecting and filling in the forms, giving four days so that those whose forms were locked out would have the chance to submit them,” he said.
He added that those who deserved to participate in the contests should be given a chance to do so.
TLP chairman Agustino Mrema said what happened in Vunjo Constituency were acts filled with ill-intention against opposition parties and the President.
“This is a tact to try and show that the current government does not have respect for laws and regulations of the land. The intention is to fail President Magufuli from winning the 2020 general election,” he said.