OTHER POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

Half of MP’s to lose their seats?
On September 11 an opinion poll carried out on behalf of Mwananchi Communications showed that, if a snap election were held then, some 132 out of the 232 elected MPs would be found ‘not acceptable to the public’. Altogether there are 319 MPs in Parliament – Mwananchi.

Government not opposed to solo candidates
Responding to growing public pressure for the Government to clear the way for individuals interested in running for office in forthcoming elections as independents, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mathias Chikawe was quoted in The Citizen as saying that the Government was not opposed to the idea. It had appealed against a High Court ruling in favour of the recognition of the right of independent candidates. ”We have only gone to High Court to protect the Constitution……..If the court is allowed to force amendments in parts of the Constitution, who will stop it from calling for a repeal of the whole Constitution?” he asked. The Minister said the matter should be left to the Court of Appeal to rule.

CCM wins again in civic polls

Tanzania conducted nationwide elections for local councils in October but it has proved difficult for TA to obtain the detailed results. CCM claimed that it had won 98% of the seats.

There were minor incidents of violence. In Dar es Salaam, some contenders were seen distributing money. at polling stations. In Manyara region some polls had to be suspended after squabbles broke out among party supporters. In Bunda some 200 party members complained that they were stopped from voting on allegations that they were ‘illegal’ immigrants from Kenya.’ In Mbeya a CCM branch chairman was arrested on charges of assaulting a CUF candidate. In Ruvuma police had to intervene following a skirmish between CCM and CUF members fighting over a rally ground. In Tanga a CUF motorcade was pelted with stones – Nipashe,

Turnout was generally poor. In Dar es Salaam region only 26% of the eligible voters registered. CCM took 402 seats out of 446 in Dar, and in Morogoro 259 out of 274. But in the CHADEMA stronghold of Kigoma the opposition got 35 out of 68.

Zanzibar – Discord over voter registration in Pemba

Establishment of a new electoral register in the CUF stronghold of Pemba resulted in serious trouble after it was decided by the government that only those holding Zanzibar identity documents could register.

Among the incidents reported:
CUF complained that thousands of people had been refused ID’s. The ID Directors office was raided by a huge crowd of protesting people but the Director insisted that his office had exceeded its target for registering people and that more people than expected had been given ID cards.
Several people set on fire several houses in Wete district, mainly the property of CUF supporters. Scores of residents could be heard chanting pro-democracy slogans. Police arrested a number of people and took them away for questioning.
Seven people were arrested in different locations in Unguja, when they refused to obey police orders requiring them to disperse after being denied registration because they had no residents’ IDs.
In Pemba North, after CUF had called for registration to be stopped, some people resorted to witchcraft. They placed slaughtered chicken, rotten eggs and beehives at some centres. . Aome electric cables were cut. Several shehas (local officers) were assaulted with acid while their houses had been dynamited. ZEC offices were raided. Some 300 complaints came from several villages in Unguja North where people said that they had been denied Zanzibar ID’s on the grounds that they spent too much time at sea and in fishing camps.’

On September 18 CUF called for an investigation but this was turned down by the government which maintained that such action would slow down preparations for the elections. The Minister of State in the Chief Minister’s Office was quoted as saying that the government was not prepared to bow to CUF demands, taking into consideration that the majority of people did have IDs.

Following continued scuffles between people and the Police registration was suspended in mid-September.
The Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) said the trouble was costing the ZEC millions. The Director of the Zanzibar ID Department said those who claimed to have been denied the ID were liars. He said: “CUF is telling its members to hide their IDs and then complain.” CUF head of publicity, Salum Bimani said this was a plot by CCM and government to deny CUF members their voting rights – Habari Leo and most other papers. On September 28 CUF urged the ZEC to suspend the registration. The letter, copied to the UNDP, said CUF was withdrawing and “would not be responsible for any outcome.” The spokesperson for the ZEC said that, while registration was stalling in Pemba, ZEC had fulfilled its target in Unguja by 90 percent. He said the poor turnout in Pemba was due to the CUF boycott’ – Mwananchi.

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