Tanzania: Electoral Reforms – Samia Wins MPs Accolades

Dodoma — DODOMA: MEMBERS of Parliament have commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her commitment to enhancing democracy and good governance in the country.

The MPs praised Dr Samia particularly for allowing the three electoral reforms bills to be debated in the National Assembly.

According to the MPs, the president has shown a bold attitude and a high level of political maturity, especially at this time when the country is preparing for local government elections later this year and a general election next year.

The legislators expressed their appreciation while debating on the three crucial electoral reforms bills, which were presented for the second reading in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The bills are the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Bill, 2023; the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Bill, 2023; and the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Singida West MP Elibariki Kingu (CCM) stated that most of the issues addressed in the bills were previously discussed and complained about by various political stakeholders, hailing President Samia for choosing to address them through her 4Rs philosophy, which includes Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms, and Rebuilding.

“Political parties have been complaining about an independent national electoral commission and on how its leaders are obtained and went further to suspect that there might be unfairness in election,” Kingu said.

The legislator emphasised that President Samia has demonstrated her commitment to the 4Rs philosophy by actively pursuing reforms. This is a departure from previous government administrations.

“The country’s constitution grants the president the power to appoint NEC executives, including the chairman and director of the election. However, President Samia has chosen to limit her own powers by allowing the people to decide how these members will be selected,” he added.

He added: “President Samia has listened to the concerns and demands of political parties in the country. She has shown wisdom and will be remembered in the country’s history for bringing peace to the political sphere.”

The MP further stated that the president has demonstrated her maturity by taking significant steps towards democracy, such as the recent peaceful demonstration by the opposition party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema).

Mahonda MP Abdullah Ali Mwinyi (CCM) said that the proposed reforms in the bills were initiated by President Samia to promote freedom and transparency in the political platform, allowing everyone to participate peacefully without interference.

He also mentioned that President Samia’s 4Rs philosophy, which focuses on reconciliation, reform, and renewal, was a response to the existing situation when she assumed office, including the ban on political rallies and limited political dialogues outside of elections.

He emphasised that the three electoral reform bills presented in the National Assembly are part of President Samia’s 4Rs, aiming to strengthen democracy and governance in the country.

Mtoni MP Abdulhafar Idrissa Juma (CCM) added that the three electoral bills are a continuation of the ruling party’s efforts to promote transparency and democracy, principles that CCM has consistently advocated for.

He mentioned that opposition parties have often looked for reasons to explain their election defeats, including a lack of trust in the National Electoral Commission (NEC). However, President Samia has taken steps to address these concerns and build democracy.

Wete legislator Omary Ali Omary (ACT) stated that the timing of the bills is appropriate, as the country is approaching local government and general elections. He commended the proposed changes, particularly those related to the independent electoral commission, as they will enhance democracy.

Special Seats MP Neema Lugangira (CCM) called on lawmakers to continue supporting President Samia in implementing her 4Rs philosophy. She emphasised the importance of overseeing democracy and creating an environment that allows equal participation of both genders in elections.

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