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Bashiru scoffs at election theft claims

Monday November 30 2020
Bashiru pic

CCM secretary-general Bashiru Ally addresses leaders of the ruling party’s wings in Dodoma yesterday. PHOTO | JONATHAN MUSA.

By Alfred Zacharia

Dar es Salaam. The October 28 elections were not ‘stollen’ by anybody, CCM’s secretary-general, Dr Bashiru Ally, said yesterday in a statement that was in apparent response to opposition claims that rigging was widespread.

President John Magufuli won a second five-year term through the elections - with a landslide victory of more than 84 percent - while his main opponent, Tundu Lissu of Chadema, secured only 13 percent of the vote, according to the official count.

The political opposition rejected the results, with Mr Lissu alleging “widespread irregularities” - and called for peaceful demonstrations.

The opposition Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo parties asserted that thousands of their polling agents were turned away from polling stations on voting day - and that at least a dozen people were killed on the eve of election day in semi-autonomous Zanzibar.

The opposition’s plan for nationwide peaceful demonstrations to denounce the election was met with massive presence of security personnel who arrested a number of opposition leaders as ringleaders of the planned demos.

According to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Simon Sirro, at least 254 people were detained in different areas of the country for crimes committed before and during the elections.

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He said recently that only two civilians and one police officer were killed as a result of the 2020 elections, contrary to some opposition parties’ claims - and that the suspects were arrested while thorough investigations were underway.

Speaking at the launch of a two-day CCM secretariat meeting in Dodoma yesterday, Dr Ally said the party has no supportive technology or machines to steal votes as it is claimed.

“Our huge victory was not due to vote stealing, but was due to the efforts and hard work by our campaign teams. We don’t possess machines or technology to steal votes,” he stated.

He also said the party’s ambassadors countrywide did a good job in the formation of campaign teams and strategies to win the elections.

“I really wonder why people say that we (CCM) stole votes! Imagine: we had more than 250,000 party ambassadors countrywide who worked like bees to make sure that we won the elections,” he stressed.

According to him, the party’s ambassadors did not understate the power of opposition parties, although they are actually politically weak.

“CCM can also be defeated if it does not work hard and put good strategies in place,” he told the party secretariat.

In another development, Dr Bashiru directed the secretariat to create a digital database that would record the number of its members and followers, complete with their experience, age, gender, profession - and their location.

“I want the database to be completed by 2022 before the election of the party’s secretariat leaders. This would give us a clear picture of the number of our existing members and new entrants,” he said.

He also insisted that the party looks for new sources of income so that it continues operating using its own funds.

“After this meeting, you (secretariat) must do a self-evaluation to see whether or not the party is financially independent,” he said.

According to him, the party did not beg funds from anyone to run its campaigns during the 2020 elections.

“One may ask: why did the party not print T-shirts and distribute them to its members; or why members had to contribute money for publishing billboards of our contestants.

“The answer is: we tried hard to cut down expenses as we were using our own funds to run the campaigns,” he explained.

He said that the party that is ruling the nation cannot rightly go begging funds for elections anymore.

“Being independent economically gives you freedom and honor.

“Besides, it may also be a source of conflict with people or nations with intention to control you,” he said.

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