Opposition parties in Tanzania claim new election rules flawed


Opposition parties Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo yesterday outlined flaws in the ongoing review of election regulations, which, they say, may jeopardise the October General Election.

The parties released their proposals and expressed fears that the electoral body allayed at the weekend.The National Electoral Commission (Nec) held a meeting with all political parties last week in which they were told to sign new codes of conduct or risk being excluded from election campaigns.

NEC chairman judge (retired) Semistocles Kaijage said during the meeting that the body had completed receiving opinions about the draft regulations and that it was finalising the process. Opposition parties fear that the regulations that will guide elections of ward councilors, Members of Parliament and the president will be gazetted without their inputs. “We sent our comments in writing but Nec is finalising the process without any meeting with stakeholders to discuss the final draft,” said ACT-Wazalendo secretary general Ado Shaibu as he questioned the motive behind.

“The regulations have many flaws, we already have submitted our proposals. We could ensure that our inputs have been accommodated if we have a meet-ing with NEC, something that is not happening,” added Mr Shaibu at a press briefing.

Some of the gaps, according to him, include making it optional for the Nec to invite international observers and ban them from commenting on the elections until they are over and a report has been issued.“It should be mandatory to invite observers,” he said. He said the regulations also make it optional for returning officers to issue agents with copy of results.

Chadema is also protesting the absence of a clause that allows civic organisations to appeal once denied permit to participate in civic awareness.Chadema also wanted parties to be allowed to object a returning officer they doubt.

Nec director of elections Dr Wilson Mahera was quoted as saying that those are baseless claims as the com-mission was involving the parties thoroughly.

He said Nec has powers to make the regulations even without the involve-ment of the political parties.

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