- Jul 30, 2008
Media Council of Tanzania executive secretary, Kajubi Mukajanga
All eight political parties with presidential aspirants for the October 25 General Election have been asked to confirm in writing their participation in the planned national debates for presidential contenders by tomorrow.
The chairperson of the debates' preparatory committee, Media Council of Tanzania executive secretary Kajubi Mukajanga, said in press statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday that they will be televised and broadcast live on national and community radio.
He said only CHAUMMA, Tanzania Labour Party and Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) have so far confirmed in writing that they will take part. The parties yet to respond are Chadema, CCM, UPDP, ADC and NRA.
The MCT secretariat, which is coordinating the event, says it sent invitation letters to the eight parties over a month ago and has been following the matter with senior leaders of the parties by meeting them and through phone calls.
According to Mukajanga, the organisers' idea is for the debate to reach nearly 25 million viewers, listeners and readers and therefore enabling voters to hear directly from the presidential candidates what they plan to do for the country upon assuming power.
"That will provide a wide picture on the candidates and facilitate voters to make informed decisions on who is the right person to lead the country," he said.
"The committee is dismayed that some of the parties invited to participate in the debate had resolved to accept the invitation by making statements at political rallies and through the media instead of responding by writing to the committee to express their readiness," Mukajanga said at the MCT offices in the city.
"Organising the debate is sure to involve hefty costs and sponsors need to be assured on the participation of the presidential aspirants before they commit themselves to supporting the event," he noted.
Responding to questions by reporters, he said it was important for all major players in the forthcoming election to participate for the debate to have the expected impact.
Without naming the candidates invited, he expressed worries that the organisers may not be taken as serious "if the main contenders do not take part".
"We all know that this election is very close and people would want to hear from the serious contenders deemed by the public as crucial despite the fact that all contenders are equal in the eyes of the National Electoral Commission," said Mukajanga.
On whether the candidates invited could be represented, the committee said this is usually considered out of order and is only possible at other forums like campaign rallies.
Other institutions which have teamed up in preparations for the debates are The Guardian Limited (publishers of The Guardian, Nipashe and Lete Raha), Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa), Internews, Azam TV, ITV/Radio One, School of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dar es Salaam, and Tanzania Media Foundation.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN