Chadema announces dates for demonstrations in Mwanza, Arusha and Mbeya

What you need to know:

  • The party also demands constitutional and legal reforms to create conditions for free and fair elections, as well as the resumption of the new constitution-writing process12

Dar es Salaam. Chadema, on February 1, 2024, announced the dates for its planned demonstrations in Mwanza, Mbeya, and Arusha regions.

The Party's Secretary General, Mr John Mnyika, said during a news conference that the demonstrations would take place on February 13, 20, and 27, respectively.

"The Secretary General's office has already communicated with the zone offices in these cities (Victoria Zone-Mwanza; Nyasa Zone-Mbeya; and Northern Zone-Arusha) to commence preparations," he explained.

Once the preparations are finalised, the public will receive further information, including the designated routes for the demonstrations.

On January 13, Chadema decided to hold nationwide demonstrations to address various issues, including the rising cost of living burdening citizens.

The party also demands constitutional and legal reforms to create conditions for free and fair elections, as well as the resumption of the new constitution-writing process.

The Chadema official said the government should withdraw the ‘dubious bills’ from Parliament, where they are being debated, despite the documents’ inability to both fulfil present needs and effectively address current issues.

"We expected the government to listen to the concerns of citizens and present plans to alleviate their hardships after the demonstrations in Dar es Salaam," stated Mnyika.

However, since the January 24, 2024, demonstrations, no senior government official has issued a statement.

Meanwhile, parliamentary debates on the bills began on January 30 of this year.

In response, Chadema has determined that a second round of demonstrations is necessary, indicating that the opposition party will continue to organise such marches in different cities, including the country's administrative capital, Dodoma.

On the occasion of Law Day 2024, Mr Mnyika called on the country's judiciary to learn from the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and, in turn, for the EACJ to learn from the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR) in dispensing justice. 

Mr Mnyika pointed out that the EACJ analysed the Tanzania Political Parties Act and proposed necessary amendments, expressing frustration that no action has been taken to date.

"In 2013, the AfCHPR directed the Tanzanian government to amend the constitution and laws to facilitate the introduction of independent candidates. However, after nearly 11 years, no progress has been made, even with the bills currently being debated in Parliament," he noted.

Mr Mnyika emphasised the need for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to have efficient election supervisors and called on advocates throughout the country to engage in legal battles to strengthen the movement for justice in Tanzania.

Regarding the ongoing debate on the election bills, Mr Mnyika urged legislators to refrain from passing the documents and stated that the ongoing demonstrations intend to inform the Head of State that even if the bills are passed, they should not be assented to by the President.

"These demonstrations are not the result of reconciliations. They are our way of standing up for justice," he clarified.

Mr Mnyika highlighted that the peaceful demonstrations have demonstrated Chadema's commitment to justice, noting that those responsible for maintaining order have been the ones disrupting the peaceful and lawful protests. 

He said that the nationwide demonstrations will continue even after submitting a letter to the United Nations.