Chadema 'retreats' to re-organize following brutal by-election defeats

20Sep 2018
The Guardian Reporter
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Chadema 'retreats' to re-organize following brutal by-election defeats

The opposition CHADEMA party said yesterday it will not participate in any more parliamentary or councillorship by-elections, including the Liwale constituency poll scheduled for mid-October.

CHADEMA chairman Freeman Mbowe.

CHADEMA chairman Freeman Mbowe told a media conference in Dar es Salaam that the party’s focus will now be on internal consolidation and strengthening, including the preparation and launch of a new manifesto.

According to Mbowe, the decision is based on what transpired during the latest parliamentary by-elections in Ukonga and Monduli constituencies, where CCM candidates retained their seats.

“The (CHADEMA) central committee met to assess these recently-held parliamentary by-elections, and suggested that the party now concentrates on improving its manifesto,” Mbowe stated, adding:

“We now want to sink all our efforts into (re)building our party from the grassroots level, and reviewing our current policies.”

But he also asserted that CHADEMA will continue to challenge election results by filing constitutional cases in various African courts including the High Court of Tanzania.

According to Mbowe, most potential voters couldn’t participate in the Monduli and Ukonga parliamentary by-elections because their names were not on the official 2015 voters register which was used to verify identities.

Some voters also did not show up for other reasons including being threatened by the police, he added.

“There was sabotage aimed at barring CHADEMA candidates for parliamentary seats from contesting the elections. There were too many police officers at the voting centres, which alone threatened voters,” said Mbowe.

He insisted that there were at least 16 fake polling stations in the Ukonga poll, and 7,000 unregistered voters were found voting at these false stations.

He also claimed that some opposition parties were actually subsidiaries of the ruling CCM party, with agents who collaborated with poll supervisors to fill ballot boxes with fake votes before CHADEMA’s own agents arrived.

Results announced at some polling stations in Ukonga showed more votes than the number of registered voters at those centres, other results were also tampered with, he said, adding:

“That is how the situation is... voters turned up in low numbers, most of them didn’t vote at all due to the worrying environment created by the police.”

The next parliamentary by-election for the Liwale constituency will be held on October 13, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC). This follows the defection of former legislator Zuberi Mohamed Kuchauka (CUF) to CCM.

In jumping ship to CCM, Kuchauka denounced his membership of the opposition party and thereby automatically lost his rights to remain an MP on that party’s ticket, making the constituency seat vacant.