As Tanzanians are currently giving views as part of the constitutional review process, CCM Secretary General Wilson Mkama maintains that presidential election results should not be challenged in court.
Mkama aired what could be described as his party views on the issue when he met officials from Malawi electoral commission in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The officials of the electoral commission from the southern African state, who met Mukama at CCM sub-head office along Lumumba Road, are in Tanzania to exchange views and experience by learning from the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
Mkama said it is not reasonable to challenge presidential results in court because by doing so the country can stay for a long time without a president.
“Presidential results should not be challenged as a court decision may take six months or more, so how possible can a country stay without a president…this is not good,” he insisted.
Mukama made the remark when asked by one of Malawi electoral commissioners, Rev Maxwell Banda who wanted to know whether CCM is comfortable over the current situation in which presidential results are not challenged in court.
“Presidential results should not be challenged in court as a matter of experience in politics I am comfortable,” insisted Mukama.
He said one of the challenges in Tanzanian general elections has been for the opposition parties not to accept the results once they were announced.
“In politics the winner always will not question the results but the experience shows that most of the time opposition parties do not accept the results,” said Mukama.
He was also of the view that it would be difficult for independent candidates to participate in politics in a nation with immature democracy like Tanzania, besides being very costly for an individual to afford the cost of running for office.
He said political parties are better than independent candidates because the decision making is done by more than a single person but independent candidates decide according to their own views.
However, Malawians said independent candidates help challenge political parties including the way they conduct their campaigns, thereby improving democracy.
“Malawi allows independent candidates because it addresses the issue of lack of democracy in parties and currently we have 39 MPs who are independent out of 193,” said Banda.
Mukama said Tanzania has been running multiparty election since 1995 but there are various challenges facing the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and NEC should work hard to solve the problems.
“When I was in Manyara I discovered that some people removed lamination on the voters Identity card discarded the original picture of the authorised person and put another picture and went to vote,” said Mkama.
He said the situation was possible because election agents were only calling voters by their names without verifying the picture on the ID and the real person who went to vote as a result many unauthorized people voted.
He said the election supervisors should make sure the name in the permanent voters register together with the picture on ID match with the real person who is voting at the moment.
Another challenge facing election in Tanzania is that few people appeared to vote compared to the number of people who registered in the permanent register book. Therefore NEC needs to work hard to make sure that majority who are supposed to vote do so.
There is also a need of standing committee to deal with conflicts management during election because conflicts always occur before, during and after election.
Another Malawi Electro Commissioner Gloria Chingota said towards their general election 2014 her commission had learnt a lot about the way Tanzania runs general elections.
She said her team will suggest to the Malawi government to have special reserved seats for women in the parliament as in Tanzania in order to empower women.
She added that Tanzania can learn from Malawi in the way to improve democracy in the country.
“In Malawi we challenge presidential results to court, we have independent candidates and the election commissioner is elected by political parties and not the president, so thus make us to be fair and accountable to all political parties,” said Chingota.
She added that Malawi is so strict in voting, and a person can vote without voter’s identity cards because the election supervisors make verification of the names and picture of a voter in a permanent voters register and allowed to vote.
Commissioner Banda added that the government needs to improve condition of service for NEC employees to avoid challenges during electro process.
“The amount paid to NEC employees should be reasonable in order to avoid favouritism or any challenges to workers because these people determine the future of the nation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Malawi delegation refuted reports that their visit to Tanzania had something to do with a border conflict over Lake Nyasa boundaries.
Malawi electoral commission visited NEC, NGOs, Foundation for Civil Society and other political parties, including Chadema and CUF.