Lissu hits back at NEC polls director's remark

Thursday October 1 2020

 

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam. Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu yesterday cautioned the director of Elections of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Dr Wilson Mahera, against making inflammatory statements as these could jeopardize the forthcoming polls, as well as endanger the country’s peace and security.

At the same time, Lissu said his party would deploy agents in all constituencies and wards countrywide, even in areas where they don’t have candidates in order to secure his presidential votes.

Also, he clarified planned collaboration between Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo during this year’s elections and the possibility of forming a unity government if he is elected the next president.

Responding to questions during a press meeting in Arusha, Mr Lissu said Dr Mahera was quoted on Tuesday as telling election stakeholders that NEC and law enforcers’ patience was wearing thin due to some candidates’ conduct during campaign rallies.

He said that during the said meeting, Dr Mahera had told the stakeholders that they shouldn’t be surprised to see candidates and supporters teargassed by law enforcers.

According to Mr Lissu, during the event, Dr Mahera was also quoted saying he was going through hard times as he was receiving threats from within and outside the country.

Advertisement

Such remarks also drew strong criticism against the NEC boss, especially on social media, with some critics saying they showed that he was taking sides.

“Dr Mahera’s statement contravenes stipulations of the Electoral Ethics Guidelines that any unethical conduct should be reported instead of teargassing people. Such a move could cause breach of peace and security,” argued Lissu.

He claimed that his party was being intimidated after all efforts to sabotage his campaigns failed, including that of denying him use of a helicopter.

The former Singida East MP and Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) president, warned that all unacceptable threats against his party have been communicated to the UN and AU human rights commissions, whereby the AU chairman said the world was closely monitoring the Tanzania election situation.

“We will stand firm. But, any disruption of things will provide clear evidence of people who should be held accountable, including appearing before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague,” he said.

The presidential candidate said although he didn’t want Tanzanians to face charges before The Hague-based ICC, Dr Mahera and people of authority in the government should watch over their statements and conducts.

Mr Lissu, who doubles as party’s vice chairman (Mainland), said Chadema will field agents even in constituencies and wards whose candidates have been disqualified to protect presidential votes.

The vocal politician, who survived assassination attempt in Dodoma on September 7, 2017, said the party will ensure the agents are sworn in, given access to polling stations and provided with results declaration forms.

“We will take all precautionary measures to ensure they are sworn in, given access to polling stations and are provided with copies of results declaration forms,” he said.

Speaking on Chadema’s relationships with ACT-Wazalendo in this year’s elections, Mr Lissu said his party has declared to support the later’s presidential candidate in Zanzibar because it had no interest in that position.

He said ACT-Wazalendo has taken a similar decision after deciding to support Chadema’s Union presidential candidate, a decision that would be officially announced in the next few days.

“Since we are not forming a coalition, there is no law broken here. Official coalition demands that agreement documents reach the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties several months before elections,” he said.

He added: “There is no wrongdoing for political parties to support each other like how Tanzania Labour Party and the United Democratic Party have decided to support the ruling CCM.”

Mr Lissu also observed that conduct deemed legal for CCM shouldn’t become criminal only when done by opposition parties. We must avoid double standards.

Regarding the possibility to form a coalition government after elections, Mr Lissu said the move wasn’t blessed by articles of the current country’s constitution, suggesting that Tanzanians would be provided with a new constitution if such democratic processes had to happen.

“Reviving the new Katiba writing process is among the Chadema government will implement in the first 100 days. The process will start with where the draft constitution under Constitution Reform Commission (CRC) chaired by Judge (rtrd) Joseph Warioba had ended,” he said.