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European Union breathes fire on Tanzania

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JUdy2By Sidi Mgumia

What was planned as a briefing by EU Electoral Observation mission became a tuition and admonishment on good governance.

The mission head when talking to media argued in disrepute the local political scene that deny democracy practices and advanced the question of enacting a new Constitution.

The Mission said EU had cut links with Zanzibar government and called the March 20th Election a fraud and mockery to democracy.

The Head of the team, Judith Sargentini, in a manner of carrot and stick policy congratulated Tanzania on the elections and also condemned it on assumptive foul play.

Ms Sargentini to show her displeasure she reiterated that she was not going to present the report to the Zanzibar Government.

In turn she leveled many legal governance shortcomings of the country’s political and legal scene.

She opined that many legal uncertainties should be attended with enacting the new Constitution.

The European Union (EU) has proposed the amendment of electoral laws to allow political parties to form and register party coalitions in Tanzania that is lacking in the current set up.

The recommendation is among 12 proposals contained in the final report of the EU elections Observation Mission released last week in Dar es Salaam.

“The right of political parties to form and register electoral coalitions and to field joint candidates should be explicitly provided for in law,” said Judith, when unveiling the report.

The Constitution currently does not provide for political coalitions, something the opposition has been demanding for years and ruling party refusing avoiding the balkanization of the country.

In order to meet their desire and strategy to win elections four parties formed an informal alliance known as Ukawa during the Constitutional Review process as a platform to unite opposition parties.

The formed unofficial coalition embrace  Chadema, CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi and NLD against ruling party CCM in last year’s General Elections and also agreed to field a single presidential candidate that was defeated by the latter.

In a controversial statement the report says that although the closely contested elections were largely well managed, the decision making process was shrouded in secrecy.

“Electoral management bodies showed sufficient levels of preparedness and competence in organizing the elections, in the run-up to and during Election Day.”

However, Sargentini said there were shortcoming that should be addressed concerning both the electoral framework and the administration of the electoral process by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC).

She lambasted the electoral commissions over excessive secrecy and unpredictable decision making process without elaborating.

“The Electoral management bodies did not provide for full transparency regarding their decision-making processes,” she said, adding that there was limited transparency and credibility in the tallying process compared with the voting process.

The report reveals that: “The National Electoral Commission was unable to ensure steady implementation of tallying procedures throughout the regions. Clear guidelines on how to conduct the tallying and how to deal with arithmetical discrepancies were not always sent by the NEC to constituency returning officers to political party representatives.”

The report noted with displeasure the non-attendance to their 2010 recommendations regarding many legal incongruence observed.

The EU report wants scrapping of the law blocking independent candidates from contesting elections citing the ruling of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Right, which declared the law unconstitutional. The ruling was on a case brought to the Court by the late Reverend Christopher Mtikila Chairman of Democratic Party (DP).

It underscored the importance of fielding independent candidates in the elections.

“Independent candidates should have the right to stand for any Union or Zanzibar election,” the report says.

It urges concerted efforts should be made to limit the involvement of governmental administrative structures in the organization and implementation of the electoral process and called for review of the appointment of NEC commissioners to increase confidence in the NEC’s independence among all stakeholders.

Both the Union and Zanzibar constitutions currently state that presidential election results cannot be challenged anywhere and called for the repeal of the statute that bars court’s mitigation.

It wants the Judiciary to have a clear oversight role on the performance and decisions of the electoral commissions and for the media regulatory bodies to consider amending the ‘Political Party Elections Broadcasts Code’ to stipulate less strict obligations.

The EU Team attacked the application of certain provisions of the Cybercrimes Act, which, it says have the potential to limit freedom of expression and lead to arbitrary arrests at the particular time.

It calls for Implementation rules that will provide for proportionate and predictable application of the Act and recommended that Persons charged with offences under this Act should not be deprived of the right to defend themselves before court.

Sargentini  was critical of  ZEC saying that although ZEC decided to issue voter cards before last year’s elections, the body caused confusion among voters, resulting in some failing to vote.

Ms Sargentini said freedom of expression was generally respected during the weeks preceding the elections and journalists were able to operate in an atmosphere of relative freedom but blamed State media for unequal coverage favouring on the ruling party.

In a spot survey done by the African on the reaction on the report many respondents were critical of the report that makes EU as a captain of democracy when there is no single democractic practice that have to be abided world over.

“Democracy is not unique and countries are not equal in composition and political incline,” observes a University don in confidence.

The report is a reflection of the political orientation of the chairperson of the EU team


Judith Sargentini

 Born March 13, 1974 in Amsterdam is a Dutch GreenLeft politician. She is currently a Member of the European Parliament. Previously she was chair of the GreenLeft in the Amsterdam city council.

In 2002 Sargentini was elected into the Amsterdam municipal council. Between 1999 and 2002 she sat as a co-opted assistant on the municipal council.

In addition to her membership of the council Sargentini is an activist worked for various NGOs in the sphere of development cooperation.

Between 2000 and 2001 she was international coordinator of the European Network for Information an Action in Southern Africa.

Member of the European Parliament, 2009–present

Sargentini became a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European parliament and substitute for the Committee on Development.

Between 2009 and 2013, she chaired the GreenLeft delegation. In addition to her committee assignments, she is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights.

The GreenLeft party wants to reform the welfare state so it will benefit “outsiders” those who have been excluded from the welfare state until now.


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