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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

NGOs cry foul over special seats MPs

22nd November 2010
CCM special seat MP Anna Abdallah
CCM special seat MP Rita Mlaki

The procedure followed by the ruling party in picking special seats candidates for the non-governmental organisations category is being questioned after representatives from NGOs said they were not involved.

“They (CCM) claim that they got these special seats candidates from the NGOs category, but in the actual sense, the NGOs were not involved in the process,” Ngunga Tepani, Policy and Advocacy officer of the NGOs umbrella organisation, Tanzania Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (Tango), said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian yesterday.

CCM special seats MPs who were picked through the procedure are Rita Mlaki and Anna Abdallah.

The NGO representatives and activists are questioning the criteria used to nominate the respective candidates through the NGO category.

According to Tepani, Tango, an apex body of NGOs, was not involved in the process of getting the CCM candidates and that he did not understand, which NGOs the two CCM special seats MPs came from.

“We have not been informed of the process of getting special seats candidates from NGOs, which are members of Tango. Maybe they were picked from NGOs owned by the ruling party,” said Tepani, adding:

“In short, we don’t recognise them (Rita Mlaki and Anna Abdallah) because they were nominated without involving the NGOs.”

He said the ruling party was better placed to explain what they meant when they talked of special seats MPs picked from the NGOs category, since the existing NGOs was not aware of such a process.

Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) executive director Annenilia Nkya also said NGOs were not informed of the process of getting the two special seats MPs.

She said CCM should use more transparent and democratic systems of nominating their special seat MPs from the NGOs category.

She said if the system had been known to CCM NGO members, the process of picking the special seats MPs from the NGO category would have been more competitive.

“A transparent system will allow party members from various NGOs across the country to understand the rules of electing their special seat representatives,” said Nkya, an outspoken activists.

According to Nkya, there are many active and competent activists who are members of CCM, who could serve as suitable candidates for the ruling party’s special seats MPs through the NGO category. “But these activists find it difficult to go into politics because the process of selecting them is not transparent and open,” she said.

CCM Ideology and Publicity secretary John Chiligati said CCM members, who belonged to various NGOs had their system of electing their representatives. After electing the candidates, he said, they just submitted their names to the ruling party’s responsible organs.

“CCM does not own NGOs from which it picks its special seat MPs. Our members, who are affiliated to different NGOs have their own system of electing their representatives…even Mlaki and Anna Abdallah were picked through the same system. We are transparent and open,” said Chiligati in a telephone interview, without giving details.

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