Alarm raised over ‘Militia Training’ in Tanzania elections

Alarm raised over ‘Militia Training’ in Tanzania elections

With exactly 34 days to Tanzania’s presidential elections, the National Election Commission (NEC) has raised an alarm over ‘militia training’ in Tanzania elections by some political parties. On Saturday, the electoral commission called on police to investigate reports that a section of political parties were recruiting youth to cause violence during the polls. According to the Mail and Guardian, security concerns have been raised ahead of the election that has been described as the most competitive in the country’s history. “The Commission has received information that certain political parties were preparing to give military training to more than 1,500 youth in order to cause trouble during the elections,” Damian Lubuva, NEC chair, was quoted by Mail and Guardian. The electoral commission said that even though the reports were coming from only one front, it is important that they are investigated so as to help address any issues that may arise adding that no party is allowed to use a militia or cause violence before, during or after elections. The commission further says that there are set procedures to address any electoral disputes including the court system. Reports indicate that early this month, one person was killed following clashes between members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema). However, the campaigns have largely been peaceful but dominated by politics of accusations and finger-pointing. CCM is hoping to further its political dominance after the October 25th elections with its candidate Dr. John Pombe Magufuli promising to turn-around the country’s development agenda. Magufuli, a renowned workhorse, is facing the test of his life after the opposition Chadema put up a spirited campaign that has never been witnessed in the country before. On the other hand, Chadema’s flag-bearer Edward Ngoyai Lowassa is hoping to become the first ever opposition president bringing to an end the over 50 years of CCM’s political dominance. Chadema also enjoys the support of the youthful population as well as another former Prime Minister  Fredrick Sumaye who also defected from CCM accusing it of unfairness. Magufuli has served under both outgoing President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and former President Benjamin Mkapa as a minister with the Roads and Public Works being his latest portfolio. Lowassa served as the Prime Minister under Kikwete’s leadership and is known for his tough stand and development record. The two top contenders are among the eight candidates cleared by the electoral commission to run for the presidency. The question is; Who will get it right on the D-day?

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