Citing kidnappings, beatings, disappearances and even murder of some of their ardent supporters, the President of CHADEMA, Freeman Mbowe has been quoted as saying early November, “Our party believes it is wiser not to support such electoral cheating. To continue to participate in elections of this kind is to legitimize illegality.”
In Dar es Salaam, the economic capital of Tanzania where the main opposition party seems to wield significant influence, a media report has indicated that “many poll centres were closed because the CCM candidate stood unopposed, and was therefore automatically elected.”
Echoing the words of the President of Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), Bishop Gervais Nyaisonga, while at a past function, Bishop Mlola said, "The spokesman of the conference when we were in Shinyanga called upon both parties and those who are responsible to try to see to it that the elections will continue and it will be fair and our peace continues."
The Prelate urged the National Election Commission (NEC) which is responsible for overseeing elections to prepare themselves for the general elections while reminding Tanzanians the importance of peace.
“We are thinking of that election (general) and the time for campaign has not yet come. All we are hoping is that the responsible people, the Electoral Commission prepare themselves before the elections,” Bishop Mlola said.
He added, “We are thankful to God that He has given us this peace, which can help us to do many things and that is something which we should treasure and that is something we should remind people that above all which they think to do, there is peace because when you have peace you can do a lot.”
The Sunday local government poll had more than 19 million registered voters.
Five other political parties joined CHADEMA in boycotting the elections.
Human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have faulted Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli for overseeing a democratic backsliding in his country where there seems to be an increase in political opponents’ intimidation, passing of laws aimed at silencing government critics including the cowing of free media through draconian cybercrime legislation.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.
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