According to a Statehouse press statement on August 24, President Mkapa has been suffering from arthritis for the last few weeks and has been attending physiotherapy exercises. The President went to the airport to welcome only two of the 14 heads of states and Governments who arrived for the first SADC summit to be held in Tanzania on August 25 and 26. Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein, Prime Minister Sumaye and other senior ministers received the other foreign dignitaries -Nipashe.
The Guardian has reported that the major opposition parties reached an agreement on August 23 to harmonise their relations and reinforce unity as part of the preparations for the 2005 elections.
But then CHADEMA announced that it would field its own presidential candidate in 2005. In the 2000 elections CHADEMA supported CUF’s candidate for president. Then a member of the East African Legislature from the NCCR-Mageuzi party, Mabere Marando, sprang a surprise on his fellow party members by praising the CHADEMA party and promising to help it by contributing funds. Thereupon NCCR National Executive Committee Member and Regional Secretary for Iringa, Eliud Mvella, told the press that Marando would be expelled and would lose his seat in the EA legislature.
OPPOSITION MAMES SHADOW CABINET
MP’s in the newly expanded 34-member opposition camp in the National Assembly in Dodoma have joined together to appoint a shadow cabinet. This followed the expulsion of two United Democratic Party (UDP) MP’s following internal clashes. The two lost their seats when they were expelled after trying to dislodge the founder of the party John Cheyo. Another legislator, Zamda Bozeni, who had been suspended by CUF also returned to the fold after winning a case against the party in court. Wilfred Lwakatare (Bukoba Urban -CUF), is the new leader of the opposition camp taking over from Dr Walid Kabourou (CHADEMA) who had been suspended by the Speaker of the Assembly. The Deputy leader is Isaac Cheyo (Bariadi West -UDP) and the Chief Whip is Thomas Ngawaiya (Moshi Rural -TLP). Philemon Ndesamburo (CHADEMA) represents Tourism and Natural Resources but almost all the other cabinet members come from the increased number of CUF MP’s following the by-elections.
ELIMINATION OF SMALL PARTIES
It is understood that political parties that fail to get 3% of the national vote may be de-registered according to a Bill to be presented to parliament in October. Registrar of Political Parties John Tendwa said the aim was to ‘minimize parties that are there in book form only but have failed to conduct even one political rally or meeting since they were registered ten years ago.’
SOME MP’S NOW WANT PRIVATE CANDIDATES
Some MP’s are requesting the Government to consider the issue of introducing private candidates without party affiliations in local and general elections. Under existing rules private candidates are not allowed. Prominent lawyer and CCM advisor Masumbuko Lamwai has said that the time has come for constitutional changes to accommodate private candidates. Responding, while presenting his ministry’s expenditure estimates for 2003/2004, Justice and Constitutional Matters Minister Bakari Mwapachu said the Government had prepared proposals for constitutional changes and would hand them to parliament later for more scrutiny -Majira.
CUF PARLIAMENTARIAN ARRESTED
As this issue of TA went to the printers it was reported in Majira that Bukoba Urban CUF MP Wilfred Lwakatare was in police custody following disturbances caused by CUF members demonstrating in Bukoba town. Prior to the arrests police had used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the CUF members. He said police permitted CUF to hold the rally but party followers became unruly and used stones to break windscreens of cars, including a police car.
The opposition Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Khalifa Suleiman Khalifa, has criticised the Tanzania Government’s support of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, saying it was not fair for Tanzania to identify itself with people who opposed ‘the wind of democracy which was sweeping across Africa.’ He attributed the Mugabe problem to the trend towards overstaying in power and called on other African leaders to take Zimbabwe as a warning. Khalifa commended Presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Joaquim Chissano (of Mozambique) for their unflinching decision to retire when their time was due.