A Free and fair election that we ought to struggle for

Geza Ulole

JF-Expert Member
Oct 31, 2009
[FONT=Courier New, monospace]A Free and fair election that we ought to struggle for: A response to Mwanakijiji. [/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]Dear Mwanakijiji,[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]I read your article, that requested CHADEMA to unconditional apologize for their President's walk out at the Parliament Inaugural speech and for their reluctance to acknowledge the legitimacy of the results that gave him his presidency. To be fair I was forced to take time and try to explain to you why CHADEMA stand was necessary, as it seems your understanding of democracy lacks a TRUE meaning of what is a FREE and FAIR election. For any true democratic nation, election has to adhere to the principles of TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY and VERIFICATION among others to the stakeholders involved in the exercise whether be National Electoral Commission(NEC), Political parties representatives at poll stations, Political parties (Ruling and opposition) themselves or those Security organs that are constitutionally bestowed a responsibility to oversee a smooth election.[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]Unfortunately; out of those three criteria i mentioned, a VERIFICATION part is unrecognized by our LAWS as we all know our constitution has deprived our courts of their constitutional mandate to crosscheck the credibility of the results by NEC. Though this problem has all along been known ever since the country has embarked into Multipartism politics, our government under CCM has turned a deaf ear to that need probably out of fear to risk loosing their strong hold on power. Out of this refusal to allow a truly democratic environment, we have started to have a sense of what is to come if no REFORMS are carried out to allow the laws to reflect the existing conditions on the ground. [/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]In the eve of the just concluded election, a number of issues have resurfaced that surprisingly are not new and a need for their reforms have long been recommended by the Nyalali's Commission that was tasked to oversee Tanzania enter into multiparty politics that is truly democratic. Among the many, one was a dire need for a NEW CONSTITUTION; to replace the current outdated CONSTITUTION that to majority of free and independent minded individuals is a defacto suited for ONE PARTY STATE and will undoubtedly outlive the pace of democratization process that our country Tanzania is YET to attain. Second was a an INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION that will be efficient and effective to oversee a credible democratic election with no influence from the Government i.e. party in power (likewise from opposition as well).[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]To my dismay and on the disguise of our beliefs in the name of FREE and FAIR ELECTION, and in the ATTESTATION of the so many irregularities that the international Community (the EU Observers and the Commonwealth) oversaw, some of us are deliberately trying to DISCREDIT a boycott stand, CHADEMA has taken in the place of a RIGHT to refute the October Results in the LAW CHAMBERS that is lacking as far as our current "repressive constitution" is concerned (technically locks out one of three pillars of a Republic government from exercising its mandate). Probably as a result of being UNAWARE of the DEMOCRATIZATION process THAT they are championing, OR for some REASONS that their ONLY own self can explain; these individuals are trying to distort or prove us WRONG on what we just witnessed! Indisputable are the facts that can't be deniable since in any free society, a level field to advocate its policies to the citizens of that respective republic during elections has to be a foundation of that democratization process [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]for each party[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] involved. UNFORTUNATELY, Tanzania has not yet offered that ground todate (18 years down the timeline of multipartism). WHY SO?[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]Among others, FREE and FAIR election is characterized by the following indicators; fair electoral law, good election management, a compulsory civic education and voter information, Constituency delimitation, the right to vote, Voter registration, Candidates, political parties and political organization, Electoral campaigns, Human rights and the election environment, Media access and coverage, Codes of Conduct, Transparent balloting, Tight Monitoring and results, AND Complaints and dispute resolution (involves courts). And here is a short breakdown of what transpired before and during and after the October 31st, elections in relation to a FREE and FAIR election.[/FONT]

  1. [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Election expenses law; electoral expenses bill was unanimously passed into law by the parliament. The law was meant to supervise a level field for fair election and curb any sort of overspending that could give a room to corruption malpractices during the campaigns; but guess what? every one is aware that CCM spent more than what they declared. Not only that, CCM went further to buy the opposition candidates to withdraw from vying the parliamentary seats and this was on the watch of the PCCB and the electoral Commission. Moreover, CCM diverted Central Government resources into their campaigns machinery to assist them winning; everyone knows Government vehicles were used [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]in CCM rallies [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]to an extent of even those from Police (Maswa constituent's case) under false plate numbers and worst enough, ran on fuel billed to tax payers' money.[/FONT]
  2. [FONT=Courier New, monospace]A voter registry and ballot papers; an updated of the voter registry was carried out and at first a 17 million then a 21 million figure before a 19 million voters list was released, that triggered a disapproval of the whole exercise from sections of the opposition; reason being a suspicion of inflated numbers but till the election day, a confusion on the exactness number of voters was still at large though it was within the responsibility of NEC to give a clarification by a simple TRANSPARENT verification exercise on the list, NEC for some reasons only known to themselves refused to rectify that highly reasonable doubt, despite of the fact that the opposition especially CHADEMA submitted their grievances well in advance. Moreover there was a confusion on the printing of the ballot papers; before the election; the Government of Tanzania through the assistance of China acquired new printing machines that would have not necessitated awarding an outside the country firm to print the ballots; moreover as more drama kept surfacing, a confusion on where the ballots were printed among the UK, TZ and SA was large and an order of the day.[/FONT]
  3. [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Civic education and general public accessibility to electoral information;[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] going to the fourth multiparty election, NEC claimed to have no enough funds to sensitize the people on the need to vote and their general electoral rights. Regardless of the fact that nearly all Tanzanians own radio and nearly half of Tanzanians are mobile users whereas majority can read flyers or circulars, NEC refused to use those mediums to educate the mass on the necessity to vote. NEC went further to even refuse the right of information to those registered to vote; e.g. information on the respective poll stations to cast votes were deliberately released late (about two weeks before a voting day) and for those of us that know the demographics of Tanzania, a simple dislocation of a voter's name in the registry is a reason strong enough to lock out a person from voting in the remote areas since some poll stations where over a day walk from the villages.[/FONT]
  4. [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Electoral code of conducts;[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] though unconstitutional but in a resemblance to a tyrant regime; as obedience of directives of the top guys at CCM; disgracefully, Tanzania's Peoples Defence Forces Chief of Staff Abdulrahman Shimbo, came out to thunderously 'threatened' the opposition not to dare to oppose the election results probably anticipating what is going to happen and moreover signifying the readiness of our Army to interfere with the democratic process if the results are not in their way. Also State Security Agency took a front line behind the scene to supervise a winning environment for the ruling party that involves colluding with the returning officers. Moreover as a sign of lack of rule of law and contrarily to the Communication Act, our mobile phones were used as a launching pad for religious hate and scare tactics that luckily enough our society's tolerance level was high to neutralize and ignore them. Individuals like Rashid Shamte are still at large and no charges has been advanced to them for their deliberation to destabilize order and peace during the election period. As a continuation of the lack of understanding their actual constitutional spelled out objectives of their institutions i.e. to safeguard the constitution and provide security to every citizen regardless of political affiliation; Tanzania Police force openly showed favoritism towards the ruling party, with the instances of baring the opposition parties conducting their campaign by refusing to issue gatherings permits citing unfounded excuses like no enough personnel to supervise security. Moreover police mummed to act on complains advanced towards them by the opposition ([/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]that embraced peace and order) [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]on the incidences of violence from the CCM supporters and on the incidences of not abiding to the existing electoral laws e.g. not adhering to the NEC timetable by conducting campaigns on the time and at times [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]by force [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]occupying the grounds reserved for opposition as timetable specified. [/FONT]
  5. [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Media access and coverage;[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] under normal circumstances in any democratic society, the access to political views from participating parties has to be free and unbiased to every citizen. But we witnessed, TBC, The Dailynews and Habari leo that are state's mass communication mediums turned to be exclusively mouth pieces for CCM and whereas otherwise; the coverage of campaigns from opposition was broadcast under stringent measures that whole aimed to safeguard the interests of the ruling party therefore filtering of the content to be aired was strictly adhered and as a result censor the voters from hearing the opposition advancing their pleas against corruption and impunity malpractice by the ruling party. Openly, the state media suppressed the main principle of democracy i.e. freedom of speech while total disregarding the fact that they are ran by the tax payers money. Meanwhile those media houses that stood for fairness were issued with warning letters that their operation licenses were in a risk of being revoked; The Citizen can testify to this! Moreover, one editor went further to prove where his media house stands by proclaiming a CHADEMA candidate will never win[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] (unmistakenly[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] came from state media). No action was taken by the Ministry of Information (that issued a warning letter to the Citizen)to punish his unethical journalism act that could have plunged a nation into chaos. [/FONT]
  6. [FONT=Courier New, monospace]Tallying and electoral results;[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]at the climax of the flawed elections that yielded to us the current government; serious election irregularities were witnessed, the tallying up took weeks and for some reasons only NEC headquarters were allowed to announce results for a presidential vote; incidences of numbers of votes at NEC been incoherent to the numbers at polling station were large and inconceivable under normal circumstances of a fair election. And the most interesting party of this election, less than 50% of registered voters turned up on the voting day something that has never happened in the history of Tanzania. Credible sources are attributing that low turn over to be a work of State Security Agency that manipulate the numbers and destroyed the rest of the votes that went unrecognized. If the same results were to happen in developed countries, I am 100% sure the results would have been disputed at court since they did not reflect the true choice of the people! Why so? A sitting president been elected by less than a half the number of the total registered voters. THAT could have been a reason strong enough for election to be repeated[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] since majority couldn't cast their ballots[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace].[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]With the just released results, It is a obvious that something has to be done to change these gross irregularities that are time bomb if they are to happen again since human beings' impatience wanes out with time as understanding of their right to elect and be heed grows with time.[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]As a tip of iceberg in the ocean; our just concluded Presidential election lacked and will probably continue to lack the crucial and necessary "Complains and Dispute Resolution" part that is specifically for solving the election disputes unless otherwise is adopted, i.e. our CONSTITUTION acknowledging that important indicator that usually leads us into a sensitive VERIFICATION exercise to determine a legitimate winner as a foremost resolution step.

Upon its bestowed mandate, a court can recall election by announcing the prior results null and void if no clear winner can be decided or where irregularities (beyond acceptable levels) marred electoral process.
[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]As a matter of facts our CONSTITUTION in its current state does not stand to represent the interests of nation but of a nearly Authoritarian regime cause of its[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] draconian nature ([/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]architect of those in power)[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] that has intentionally refused to grant a permission for Presidential results to be challenged in our courts so as to serve the interests of those in power being well aware of its significance to their grip into power if court consultations were allowed.

That protectionism of their interests
[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] to remand them in power, [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]technically [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]puts the stakes of this nation at high risk of plunging into election turmoils just like the ones in Kenya and now Ivory Coast or even a more worse situation if that crucial part for a FREE and FAIR election kept being ignored in a society that is craving for a TRUE Democracy. Therefore, it is out of these facts; a NEW CONSTITUTION for a [/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace]Democratic country[/FONT][FONT=Courier New, monospace] that reflect the realities of not only multipartism politics but a true democratic society is a MUST before our political barometer reaches a boiling point.[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]Regards[/FONT]

[FONT=Courier New, monospace]Geza Ulole[/FONT]

Toa taarifa ya maudhui yasiyofaa!

Kuna taarifa umeiona humu JamiiForums na haifai kubaki mtandaoni?
Fanya hivi...

Umesahau Password au akaunti yako?

Unapata ugumu kuikumbuka akaunti yako? Unakwama kuanzisha akaunti?
Contact us

Top Bottom