The results of the latest parliamentary by-election at Igunga surprised many observers who expected veteran opposition leader Joseph Kasella-Bantu (the former MP for the constituency) to gain a respectable second place after the candidate of the ruling CCM party. The results were as follows :
Rostam Aziz (CCM) 28,502
Henry Mapalala, Civic United Front (CUF) 15,816
Joseph Kasella-Bantu, United Democratic Party 3,375
Kirito Shija (TLP) 691
Ahmed Mahboob (UPDP) 665
Hashim Ndambile (NCCR-Mageuzi) 549
Juma Mabondo (NLD) 486
Alphonce Kiyabo (WNA) 426
The success of CUF in winning 31.3% of the vote came as a surprise. Although the party is strong in Zanzibar – ‘Africa Analysis’ describes it as the ‘only authoritative and credible movement there’ – it was not considered strong on the mainland where CHADEMA, which did not contest the by-election, had been considered the most significant party.
Many opposition leaders have been criticising the present electoral law and the failure of the government to amend a number of other laws to ensure fairness in multi-party elections. CUF leader James Mapalala has decided not to apply for any further election subsidy and to boycott all forthcoming elections until his demand for a constitutional conference to amend certain existing laws is agreed.
On July 28th the Express reported that CUF Vice-Chairman Seif Sharrif Hamad had made a courtesy call on Mwalimu Nyerere. ‘The talks did not last more than an hour and the press were only allowed to take pictures before the start of the meeting’.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Samuel Sitta insisted however, that the government would not agree to a constitutional conference; the country’s constitution fully respected human rights he said. He went on to say that the government had scrutinised the 40 laws listed as inhuman by the Nyalali Commission (which prepared the way last year for the multi-party system) and it was likely that some would be reviewed.
Once again, as at the previous Kigoma by-election, the CCM party had pulled out all the stops to ensure that it would win the Igunga by-election decisively. CCM Secretary-General Horace Kolimba assured villagers that an initial TShs 900,000 would be provided before the by-election date to pay cotton growers for their crops sold in 1992/93. The government had previously provided TShs 770,000 to cooperative societies but TShs 3.2 million had been ‘squandered’ by society officials according to the Daily News.
OPPOSITION PROPORTION OF THE VOTE GOES UP
Yet, in spite of this intensive campaigning at Igunga the total opposition vote (for all parties) at the by-election reached 43.5% of those voting – a much higher figure than in previous by-elections. In Kwahani, Zanzibar it had been only 11% (most parties boycotted the by-election), at Ileje it had been 21.5% and at Kigoma it had reached 27.3% (see graph). The opposition remains divided however and steps taken by four parties to unite (Bulletin No 48) have made little further progress. A factor which probably influences some party leaders is that all registered parties, however limited then support, can receive government subsidies to cover some of their costs in by-elections.
EARLIER BY-ELECTION RESULT ANNULLED
CCM received very bad news when, in mid-August the High Court ruled that the Kigoma by-election result was nu1 and void. The CCM party had made very considerable efforts to win this by-election and the happy result had been the cause of much celebration in the party around the country.
However, as explained in Bulletin No 48, there had been many irregularities in the CCM campaign. The court accepted four of the fourteen grounds of complaint submitted by the CHADEMA candidate in the by-election, Dr. Aman Kabourou, who had come second, and required the CCM candidate, Mr Azim Premji, to pay Dr. Kabourou’s costs. Respondents in the petition, the Attorney General and Mr Premji, were given 14 days to appeal. The main complaints had centred on participation in the campaign by President Mwinyi using government transport and the CCM bias of Radio Tanzania.
Full reactions to the news about the Kigoma result were not available as we went to press but one citizen in Dar es Salaam was quoted as saying that the court’s verdict had tarnished the image of President Mwinyi because he had taken such an active role in the by-election. The CCM MP for Karatu was quoted as saying that the monopoly of Radio Tanzania by the ruling party was unfair and that there should be a reasonable allocation of radio time for other parties. The MP for Mufindi said that the CCM had panicked. There had been no reason for the senior leadership of the country to campaign for Azim Premji.
The next by-election will be in Tabora North. Although six parties originally named their candidates for the contest there is some uncertainty as to whether most of the opposition parties will take part as they doubt whether it will be free and fair.