Dar es Salaam. The United States government will join other selected organisations, including some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in observing the forthcoming General Election slated for October 28.
The US inclusion as an observer is meant to ensure the elections, which promise to be well contested, are free and fair. The US ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Donald Wright, yesterday disclosed that they were granted a permit to do so by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Yesterday, he met with Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) secretary general Dr Bashiru Ally to discuss various issues including the ongoing preparations ahead of the polls. The internal meeting took place at the party’s Lumumba headquarters.
Dr Wright was received at the CCM offices at around 9:30am by his host, Dr Ally, and the two held talks for two hours. Contrary to what many had expected, the two leaders did not shake hands instead they demonstrated an elbow bump greeting, something that can be ‘described’ as a message to the general public to take precautions against Covid-19 pandemic as the US envoy was also spotted wearing a face mask. After his meeting with the CCM leader, Dr Wright wrote on his Twitter account: “As part of my ongoing effort to meet with all candidates and parties, today I had the pleasure to meet with CCM’s SG Bashiru Ally. We spoke about CCM’s vision for the future, and I thank him for reaffirming his party’s commitment to peaceful, fair and transparent elections,”
However, The Citizen understands that the Dr Wright initially had proposed to hold talks with CCM’s Presidential candidates for Mainland and Zanzibar Dr John Magufuli and Dr Hussein Mwinyi, but his wishes were in vain after the ruling party responded that its Presidential candidates were occupied by national duties and the ongoing election campaigns.
Apart from his yesterday’s meeting with the CCM secretary general, the US ambassador in the last few days had similar meetings with opposition Presidential candidates for ACT-Wazalendo (in Zanzibar) Maalim Seif and Chadema’s Tundu Lissu to discuss issues related to the upcoming elections.
Briefing a press conference shortly after the meeting with his guest, Dr Ally said they also discussed issues related to diplomacy and joint plans to strengthen the existing bilateral socio-economic and diplomatic relations between the US and Tanzania.
“The US ambassador said his office has been granted a permit to observe the upcoming general election. And, I have assured him that the elections will be free and fair,” Dr Ally briefed journalists.
On October 1, the US Embassy in Tanzania issued a public statement emphasising its commitment to ensuring this year’s general elections were peaceful, fair and transparent, further warning that it would not hesitate to take measures against those who will be found guilty of violating the election process.
Highlighting other agendas of his meeting with the US diplomat, Dr Ally disclosed that they also discussed about the country’s sectors of the economy.
“He mentioned four areas of his interest during his tenure as US Ambassador in the country. The areas include health, business and investment, environmental and wildlife management, “ said Dr Ally.
The US government has pledged to support Tanzania in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, revealed the CCM’s secretary general.
Meanwhile, CCM’s secretary general Dr Ally on Thursday also held talks with other Ambassadors to Tanzania representing Kenya, Mozambique and other seven European Union (EU) countries to discuss various issues related to Tanzania’s socioeconomic relations with the countries, to mention but a few.
Moreover, Dr Ally during the press conference also briefed the journalists that the ruling party’s Presidential candidate and incumbent President Magufuli was set to conduct political rallies in the Coast, Tanga, Arusha, Manyara and Dodoma.