Tanzania: Electoral Reforms Thrill Players

DAR ES SALAAM THE Government’s move of implementing recommendations made by the taskforce formed to assess the state of politics in the country has thrilled political players, especially a decision to table in the Parliament three Bills for reforms in electoral laws.

Presenting a report on the implementation of the suggestions, Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Policy, Parliamentary Affairs and Coordination, Dr Jim Yonazi, mentioned the new Bills as on the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Political Parties Act and the National Elections Act.

“The Bills are expected to be tabled in the Parliament meeting which will start October 31, 2023. After being passed by the Parliament and signed by the President, some issues will be prioritised through regulations and guidelines,” Dr Yonazi said, while addressing the gathering at the special meeting of political parties’ council and democracy stakeholders in Dar es Salaam, on Monday evening.

Elaborating, he noted that the government had already implemented the recommendation on allowing political rallies, which are now ongoing.

On the suggestion that performance of the NEC be questioned in court, Dr Yonazi said that rotates on the Constitution in the Article 74 (11), adding it would be considered during the process to write a new Constitution.

Reacting on the implementation report, Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) Chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba said: “I congratulate the government for this step of wanting to bring to the Parliament the Bills so that the next elections be conducted fairly and peacefully.”

However, Prof Lipumba suggested that the changes in laws need to go hand in hand with minor changes in the Constitution.

Opposition UDP National Chairman, Mr John Cheyo, hailed President Samia for showing her readiness in listening and implementing what was advanced to her government.

Former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba also commended the government for working on the recommendations by the taskforce.

“I was following the presentation of the report, I didn’t hear anywhere that the government disagrees with the taskforce, we have seen the political rallies being conducted,” Judge Warioba stated.

He stressed that it was necessary to review laws, regulations and guidelines on elections to avoid challenges in the next elections.

Commenting, Ambassador Amina Salum Ali also hailed President Samia for continuing to strengthen democracy in the country, further urging that the government should make the Bills public so that stakeholders could analyse and offer their views on them, before being tabled in the Parliament.

Former Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda also concurred that the bills must first be brought before stakeholders for discussion before being tabled in the National Assembly.

Mr Pinda said stakeholders need to discuss and see the key proposals made by the taskforce so that the final reforms will be agreed upon by all.

“As long as the stakeholders are here, we need to bring the proposed bills here so that they can discuss and give a nod to the long-awaited reforms,” he said.

Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) leader Zitto Kabwe said the draft bills should not be taken into a state of emergency, adding that laws passed under such a certificate end up being bad.

“Let us use the traditional ways to pass laws to carry out these reforms; we need to go slowly so that we have reforms which will be accepted by all.”


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