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Call for law to disclose,limit campaign finance

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by KiuyaJibu, Dec 18, 2008.

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    KiuyaJibu JF-Expert Member

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    Call for law to disclose, limit campaign finance

    2008-12-17 11:52:52
    By Correspondent Gerald Kitabu

    Politicians, lawyers and some University of Dar es Salaam lecturers have underscored the need to have a law limiting the amount of money to be spent during election campaigns.

    The move would help to slow down corruption during elections by forcing politicians to disclose the source of financing during their campaigns, they said.

    They were speaking in an exclusive interview with ?The Guardian? in Dar es Salaam on Monday on the sidelines of a stakeholders conference discussing Tanzania`s political parties Act of 1992.

    The forum was organised by the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) in partnership with the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy (NMD).

    They said allowing political parties to receive funds from anywhere and anyone without disclosing the sources, the amount contributed, when and for what purpose, as stipulated in section 11(1) and (2) of the Act, could bring dirty money into politics by allowing tycoons to hijack political parties.

    Bashiru Ally, Assistant Lecturer in the university`s Department of Political Science and Public Administration, cautioned that the current trend of spending as much money as possible during elections could fuel corruption.

    ``In areas where voters sell votes, elected leaders are not accountable at all because their voters have lost moral authority to demand political accountability.

    This has aggravated problems with accountability in the country,`` he said.

    Faculty of Law Assistant Lecturer Deo Nangela meanwhile warned that, if the law so liberally allows donations, politics was at risk of being hijacked by a few rich people.

    ``When one ventures into politics or vies for any other public position, that means he or she becomes a public figure and therefore, he or she automatically discloses himself or herself before the public.

    In other words, he or she is open to everybody who might need his or her personal information, including his or her assets and liabilities,`` he pointed out.

    However, he added that this has not been the case with ``our leaders in Tanzania who, after getting into public office, tend to hide their personal particulars``.

    ``It is very dangerous to have a law which allows political parties to source funds from anywhere and from anyone without disclosing the financiers, the amount of funds to be contributed, when and for what purpose,`` observed Nangela.

    Juliana Chitinka, Principal Assistant Secretary to the ruling CCM\'s Department of Political Affairs and International Relations, warned that political parties using money to get leadership were likely to get corrupt and uncommitted leaders who would not have the people`s problems at heart.

    ``I am afraid we might not get committed and patriotic leaders if we don\'t act now,`` she noted.

    Contributing to the debate, Tanzania Labour Party youth wing secretary Jafary Luganga said dirty money would continue to flow in ``thanks to scientific and technological innovations unless a very comprehensive law is enacted``.

    ``People have discovered many ways of sourcing and receiving funds to support election campaigns, one being the use of sophisticated information technology.

    This calls for stringent legislation to tame the tide, otherwise dirty money will still filter through.``

    Hilda Stuart, a lawyer with the Tanzania Women in Law Association (TAWLA), said it was unfortunate that the country had ``a law this lax because it makes it possible for a particular party to be easily monopolised by a few wealthy people for their personal gain``.

    ``The mushrooming of political parties owned by a few people for personal gain is unhealthy to democracy. I think there should be some proportionality in the provision of subsidies to political parties,`` she said.

    Union for Multiparty Democracy Secretary General Ali Mshangama lamented what he called the absence of a level playing field in Tanzanian politics.

    ``Look! When people donate to the ruling party during elections, they stay in office but when they help the opposition, they face a lot of problems,`` he said.

    Rose Moshi, a Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) official, argued that the absence of legislation to regulate the financing of campaigns by political parties would make it easy for contributions made from undisclosed sources to attract terrorists and thus seriously jeopardise the country\'s peace and security.

    SOURCE: Guardian