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Our Meeting Will Take Place Despite CHADEMA, ACT-Wazalendo Boycott, Party Registrar Says

Mutungi says the parties are not sure which meeting they are boycotting.

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Dar es Salaam. The Registrar of Political Parties Mr Francis Mutungi told The Chanzo today, September 27, 2021, that the planned consultative meeting that he has organised between his office, political parties, and the Police Force will go on despite Tanzania’s main opposition parties CHADEMA and ACT-Wazalendo announcing that they are not going to participate in it.

On Sunday, ACT-Wazalendo became the latest political party in Tanzania to announce that it is boycotting the meeting scheduled for October 21, 2021. It follows a similar move by CHADEMA, which on September 7, 2021, announced that it was not going to take part in the meeting because it was not ready to meet with the “hostile police.”

Mr Mutungi had called for the meeting so that the main actors in Tanzania’s politics can discuss the growing trend of law enforcement officers interfering with political activities. In an exclusive interview with The Chanzo on Monday, Mr Mutungi said:

“The meeting will take place and [ACT-Wazalendo and CHADEMA] will attend. I think they do not know which meeting they are boycotting. We started off with a meeting with the police and we’ll meet the leaders of political parties before the general consultative meeting [on October 21]. So which meeting are they talking about?” 

On September 23, 2021, Mr Mutungi held a meeting with the Police Force in the capital Dodoma, where, among other things, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro pointed out the need to enact a law regulating internal party meetings, which now remain unregulated under Tanzania’s laws.

The statement formed the basis of ACT-Wazalendo’s boycott of the meeting, calling Sirro’s statement a clear sign that the meeting between the police, political parties and party registrar might be used to further restrict political activities in Tanzania.

Mr Mutungi seemed irritated by the way political parties describe the expected meeting where they describe it as a meeting with the party registrar. He explained to The Chanzo:

“It is not a meeting with the party registrar. It is a meeting with [Tanzania’s political] stakeholders. Can you see how these people confuse things? You, journalists, were supposed to ask CHADEMA, are they really boycotting a meeting with stakeholders [while the Tanzania Centre for Democracy] TCD under [ACT-Wazalendo party leader] Zitto [Kabwe] are requesting a meeting with stakeholders? Can you notice such an ignorant contradiction?”

The leadership of TCD is rotational and ACT-Wazalendo will be responsible for leading the non-partisan membership organisation for the coming six months. The meeting, labelled a National Conference on Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, is one of the TCD’s activities under ACT-Wazalendo and it is expected to be graced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, according to the conference’s advertisement.

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