Dar es Salaam. The Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi, yesterday announced that a meeting of political stakeholders is scheduled to take place in Dodoma on October 21.
Earlier this month, Judge Mutungi told a press conference that his office, in collaboration with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro, was organising a meeting of political parties and senior police officers to resolve intensifying differences between the two sides.
But, briefing the media yesterday, he said concerns raised by some political parties on freedom and transparency issues and agenda settings have been considered.
“A neutral person, who could probably be a minister, will be picked to preside over the meeting that will take place after preliminary meetings scheduled to take place in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar,” he said.
According to him, stakeholders who will be invited for the meeting include journalists, leaders of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and others from political spheres.
Judge Mutungi said that, after the September 6, 2021 meeting, he held consultations with IGP Sirro, the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) chairman Zitto Kabwe and Political Parties Council chairman Juma Khatibu in efforts to address the matter.
Ahead of the stakeholders’ meeting, the registrar will again meet with IGP Sirro in Dodoma on September 23, 2021, as well as the governing committee of the Political Parties Council in Dar es Salaam on September 30 this year.
“A meeting of Political Parties Council’s governing committee is called in accordance with Regulation 24 (4), that also has the responsibility of setting the date for the councils’ meeting after issuing a 14-day public notice,” he said - adding that “This is an opportunity for politicians to formalize their arguments ahead of the stakeholders’ meeting.”
Judge Mutungi said a meeting of the Political Parties Council will take place in Zanzibar on October 13, 2021 - noting that Regulation 24 (2) requires that such meetings should take place alternately.
Consecutively for two rounds, council meetings took place in the country’s administration capital Dodoma.
“My belief is that announced procedures will surmount obstacles that could prohibit appropriate and expected consensus,” he said.
However, yesterday, leaders of political parties received the announcement with different opinions. While some welcomed the meetings with clean heart and promised to participate, others maintained their hard-line position not to send any representatives to the meetings.
The ACT-Wazalendo head of publicity and ideology, Mr Salim Bimani, pledged to participate in the process and stakeholders’ meeting, suggesting an increased number of participants - and making the Dodoma meeting live for Tanzanians to follow on the developments.
“The meeting should also be attended by the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr George Simbachawene, and at least five representatives from the registered political parties should be invited,” he said.
CUF’s director of communications, ideology and public relations, Mr Mohamed Ngulangwa, commended efforts to resolve political impasses using the available opportunities.
“My belief is that restrictions imposed on political parties and political activities in general - such as rallies and internal meetings - will be lifted for good,” he said.
NCCR-Mageuzi’s head of Publicity and Public Relations, Mr Edward Simbeye, said the meeting lacks constitutional and legal mandate to lift the restriction imposed on political rallies by the Head of State.
“The Political Parties Registrar was supposed to organize a meeting involving political parties and policy makers, instead of the Police Force that is charged with enforcement of the laws and government directives,” he said over the phone.
He said the October 21 meeting will debate how to violate articles of the constitution, saying NCCR-Mageuzi will stick to its earlier position.
Recent incidents involving police and political parties include that of August 28, when a meeting of NCCR-Mageuzi executive committee to discuss issues of Covid-19, democracy and poverty was deemed illegal in Dar es Salaam.
September 4, a meeting organized by Chadema’s youth wing Bavicha to discuss constitutional reforms in Musoma, Mara Region was also called off by police who also arrested nine members.