LOCAL ELECTIONS SHOW RULING PARTY’S STRENGTH

Local elections held at the end of November indicated clearly the continuing popularity of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Party. Although final results were not known when TA went to the printers it seems that perhaps more than 90% of the votes went to CCM. Many of the sixteen opposition parties, still not united in spite of the obvious advantages of putting up a common front, made strenuous efforts and did well in a few areas. The Civic United Front (CUF) appears to have now established itself as the main opposition party on the mainland as well as in its Zanzibar stronghold. CUF leaders were clearly pleased with the results in many areas. Voter turnout was very high in several places.

Reports in the Swahili press gave initial results for some regions. Examples: In Rufiji CCM took 256 seats followed by CUF with 85 but An Nuur reported that CCM leaders in Songea were ‘nursing their wounds after the defeat they suffered at the hands of opposition parties’. CCM said it took 15 seats out of 22 in a village in Tabora region where the CUF leader, Professor Lipumba, was born. In Tabora however, a possible CUF stronghold, CCM took at least 194 seats while CUF got 34. CCM claimed to have won 55 out of 57 seats in Musoma and 53 in Bukoba compared with nine for CUF.
In the Dar es Salaam suburb of Ukonga one CCM member was popularly nominated but was later disqualified apparently for ‘being an Al Qaeda’. In Kawe suburb the supervisor announced at 5pm that he still didn’t have pens. People volunteered and gave him 10 pens but at 8 pm he said his stapler was not working. Some CUF supporters were heard saying, “There is no question of watching Arsenal vs Liverpool tonight until we cast our ballots.”

Poor organisation was the cause of violence in some parts of the country. One student was shot dead by police in Dar es Salaam. CCM stalwarts attacked the CUF HQ. Physical clashes and riots caused polling to be halted in a few areas. Eventually the police closed 143 polling stations and scheduled new elections for a week later. These were successful and passed without any serious incident.
There were a number of illustrations of the intensity of the competition between the parties. In Lindi an MP had his car tires punctured to stop him from campaigning. In Manyara and Arusha regions campaigning had to stop due to what were described in the Swahili press as ‘tribal clashes’ while in Bagamoyo district several people were injured after clashes between CCM and CUF members who were protesting at the results. In Tanga some ballot papers were set on fire.

Party registration and deregistration

Mwananchi reported that Registrar of Political Parties John Tendwa had deregistered the Union for Liberation Movement (ULIMO) Party which had replaced the former SAFINA party after ULIMO had failed to fulfil the legal requirement of having at least 200 members in 10 regions. He said the party’s list had been found to be phony. A new political party known as JAHAZI, which is based in Zanzibar and has drawn members from both CCM and CUF has been registered which brings the total number of parties to seventeen. The party’s interim Chairman is a brother of former Zanzibar CCM President, Dr Salmin Amour, but Dr Amour insists that Jahazi is not his party.
A new law which is being prepared would allow the Registrar to de-register parties which have no seats in parliament nor on local councils. Tendwa said a proposed new system of party registration, would be parallel to the ‘outlet system’, which is practiced in other countries such as Zimbabwe, Belgium, France and Germany with great successes. Under the planned system, political parties would be audited after every five years to gauge their performance, he said – Guardian.

The Rule of Law

An indication that the rule of law is at least partially effective in Tanzania was the case in October in which twelve opposition parties – including CHADEMA, CUF, TLP, NCCR-Mageuzi, UDP, DP, NRA, PPT-Maendeleo, TADEA, NLD, CHAUSTA and UPDP – lodged a constitutional petition in the High Court seeking an order to call off the local government polls scheduled for November. It sought to summons the Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for Regional Administration and Local Government, Brigadier General (rtd) Hassan Ngwilizi, as the first respondent, and the Attorney General Andrew Chenge, as the second. The party leaders requested the court to issue orders to strike out the provision for election of street chairpersons and committee members and rules which gave the Government, rather than the Electoral Commission, powers to issue regulations on the conduct of local elections. The Court agreed with the petitioners.
President Mkapa thereupon said that the civic elections would take place on November 21 and 28 but without the register of voters as ordered by the High Court. He said that this would mean going back to the system used in 1994 and 1999. He added that he thought the register would have been helpful in identifying voters but since the court had decided otherwise there was nothing the Government could do about it – Nipashe and Guardian.

“Not my policies”

President Mkapa was quoted in Majira in October as saying that some presidential aspirants in the CCM were putting the cart before the horse by prematurely campaigning for nomination. He said they had been tumbling over each other in their efforts to ‘buy’ the party nomination and that the situation had become so uncertain that investors, donors and international organisations were concerned about their future after the elections. Every time he went overseas he was asked questions about Tanzania after the elections. The President said that foreigners did not doubt CCM’s victory but they were not sure if the current policies would continue. “I told them that the policies were not mine but CCM’s,” he said.

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