They argue that the charter is imperative for Tanzania in that once ratified and domesticated, it compels member states to promote democracy, adhere to the rule of law and constitutionalism, promote holding free and fair elections, prohibit unconstitutional change of government, promote human rights and enjoyment of citizens to political, economic, social and all other rights.
They argue that Tanzania is being perceived as setting pace for good governance, transparency and free and fair elections in the continent, wondering why it has failed to ratify and domesticate the charter.
When it was first adopted in 2007, African Charter raised the hopes of democracy activists, who believed it would strengthen good governance. Over ten years on, Tanzania and other eight countries are yet to ratify it.
Speaking during a seminar to discuss ratification and domestication of the Charter by Tanzanian authority, the stakeholders wondered why Tanzania is lagging behind yet it has met most of the document’s stipulated requirements.
The meeting organised by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) brought together participants from different CSOs, government officials and other stakeholders.
LHRC’s official in the department of legal services, Gabriel Lubyagila observed that it was prudent that the government ratify the charter, adding that there are some issues raised by politicians that need to be resolved before the polls.
He said the meeting came at the right time, noting that the aim is to remind the public that there are some things that policy makers need to do to conduct a free and fair election, accepted by all.
“ The charter, among other things is much focused on free and fair elections and as a peaceful country all we need to do is to discuss and ratify it for more stability and togetherness,” he added.
Article 16 of the charter states that state parties shall cooperate at regional and continental levels in building and consolidating democracy through exchange of experiences.
Article 17 calls for state parties to re-affirm their commitment to regularly hold transparent, free and fair elections in accordance with the Union’s Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.
The above, according to William Mkwazi, Coordinator, LHRC Dodoma office, still face some challenges in the country as some players complain on election process like the appointment of the electoral commission boss.
“There are still some few contentious issues as far as free electoral commission in Tanzania is concerned,” he said, adding that by ratifying and domestication of the charter, the issues will be resolved.
Edward Mbogo, the coordinator, NGO Network for Dodoma (NGONEDO) also echoed the similar opinion, saying the government should see it fit to ratify the charter.