Confusion as meetings called by registrar and TCD coincide

Monday September 27 2021
Mutungi pic

The Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi. PHOTO | FILE

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPPs) and the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) are supposed to agree on how to resolve the issues that would surface in October this year as the result of a coincidence of two events organized by the two.

While the ORPPs announced that a meeting of political stakeholders aimed at ending differences with the Police Force in October, another meeting on Justice, Peace and Reconciliation organized by TCD will take place on the same date!

The opening of the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation meeting in the national capital Dodoma is scheduled to be graced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, while Zanzibar’s First Vice President, Mr Othman Masoud Othman, has been invited to officially close the meeting.

But, the Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi, yesterday told The Citizen that the modus operandi used by political parties ahead of the meetings was false.

“They are using the media instead of known communication procedures. ORPPs is a government institution that operates in writing, and their concerns had to be submitted in writing for collective understanding and consensus,” he said over the phone.

Judge Mutungi also said that he communicated with TCD chairman Zitto Kabwe on the matter. However, he said, this will not be the first time that the two entities presided over its meetings on the same day.

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“Recently, the Political Parties Council (PPC) held an election meeting of its leaders. However, a TCD meeting that was attended by representatives of political parties continued as planned,” he said.

However, TCD should communicate with his office to see how the events can be merged - noting that the two sides “share the same concepts. But, this should be done on the table at the office,” he stressed.

Asked about his readiness to initiate a consensus meeting with TCD, Judge Mutungi said somewhat enigmatically that “They will come to their senses.”

Regarding concerns that the Minister for Home Affairs should be invited to the meeting, Judge Mutungi said that, during his last press conference, he disclosed that Home Affairs Minister George Simbachawene and several others would be invited.

But, the TCD chairman, Zitto Kabwe, said ACT-Wazalendo was the first political party to support the RPPs initiatives, and pledged collaboration, shortly after his announcement in order to address the existing political challenges.

However, he said on September 23, 2021 that TCD members met to discuss preparations for the national meeting on Justice, Peace and Reconciliation slated for Dodoma on October 21 and 22 this year.

“The Registrar was informed of this meeting - only to be surprised by his announcement that his Office will hold a meeting with political parties and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Dodoma on the same day,” he said.

Mr Kabwe - who doubles as the leader of ACT-Wazalendo - also said that TCD leaders were forced to contemplate the new developments, and resolved to continue with preparations, while the political parties were asked to articulate their positions on the matter.

“ACT-Wazalendo has announced plans to attend the TCD-organized event instead of the meeting organized by the RPPs. Chadema and NCCR-Mageuzi have reiterated their earlier statements,” said the former Kigoma Urban MP.

According to him, CUF released a press statement advising the RPPs to put forward his meeting to pave the way for the nationwide and important TCD meeting.

However, Mr Kabwe said CCM hasn’t stated its position - noting that the ruling party wasn’t a victim of the injustice against other political parties by law enforcement institutions and that they (CCM) continue with political activities unaffected.

“Being the TCD chairman, member political parties will continue with preparations for the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation meeting. However, we humbly ask RPPs to choose another date for his meeting,” he said.

According to him, TCD members would like to cooperate with his office for the wellbeing of Tanzanian politics, citing it as the reason for extending invitation to the country’s top leaders in the Union and Zanzibar governments, religious leaders, development partners and NGOs.

The director of presidential communications, Mr Jaffar Haniu, yesterday told The Citizen’s sister newspaper Mwananchi that the President’s acceptance or rejection of the invitation would not be communicated to the public.

But, while Chadema through deputy secretary for the Mainland Benson Kigaila reiterated their position not to attend the registrar’s meeting, this paper saw ACT-Wazalendo and CUF press statements explaining their positions.