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Message to TFF: Give us fair poll!

18th February 2013
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Editorial Cartoon

The Tanzania Football Federation’s general election, earlier slated for Sunday (February 24), has been rescheduled without a new date being given.

Given the way things were going, the postponement is highly welcome – particularly if the federation spends the time between now and Election Day working on whatever issues may have led to the development.

The suspension has been necessitated by a number of reasons, including complaints by some aspirants feeling they have been denied justice by being unfairly dropped.

The move has to a great extent played a huge role in addressing the fast intensifying discontent by these particular aspirants, who will now be relieved to see hope of rejoining the fray in the next  round of the polls.

Assuming there was no foul play in the first instance, we do not expect the TFF electoral committee to easily bend rules and regulations and re-admit the axed candidates just on grounds of their perceived popularity or any other reason outside the basic screening procedure.

The federation must squarely and conclusively deal with all discrepancies that degenerate into controversies by the time the election is due.

Soccer has a massive following in Tanzania and therefore ought to run by competent leaders conversant with and fully observing the 17 rules of the game as well as the principles of judicious management.

Care has to be taken to ensure that the electoral committee’s members are themselves can competently oversee the all-important election.

The candidates must also be up to the mark in terms of competence, this alongside meeting all relevant election requirements.

The issue of the manner in which the TFF constitution was amended, as raised by a section of soccer fans, must be addressed effectively so as to avoid a recurrence of complaints by fans and candidates.

TFF president Leodegar Tenga, who is not seeking re-election, should ensure that he leaves behind a clean house capable of conducting a free and fair election.

Unless this is so, the good job he has done in the last eight years and his legacy as a soccer player will be horribly stained.

In the whole process of reassessing and reviewing the election procedures, TFF should not hurry just because it wants to please certain groups of people. Fairness has to prevail, which is only possible if all candidates are screened equally using a fine toothcomb.

True, it’s hard to avoid another wave of complaints from axed candidates and the election committee must work even more diligently and professionally.

As all aspirants have another opportunity to contest, the electoral committee must ensure they count out only those who are genuinely not eligible to contest. It might have worked well during the first phase of the screening, but the second phase can create even more daunting complications particularly with regard to eligibility of candidates or lack of it.

We hope and pray that we shall ultimately see a TFF general elections soccer lovers and the larger public will be proud to be associated with. But the process should not be kept on hold for too long as that will make the outgoing office bearers overstay and therefore become undesirable.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN