Electoral reform bills stretch Bunge session to 3 weeks

DODOMA: THREE electoral reform bills will be top of the agenda, as the National Assembly opens a three-week marathon session in Dodoma, today.

According to a statement released yesterday by Parliament Communication and International Relations Unit, the 14th session of the 12th sitting resumes today, and this time around will run for three weeks, instead of the traditional two weeks due to critical assignments ahead including debating the three crucial electoral reforms bills.

“In total, four bills will be tabled for the second and third reading,” read part of the statement.

The house is expected to be a beehive of activities as the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Bill, 2023, the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Bill, 2023 and the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023 will be debated during the first two weeks.

The three bills, which have drawn public attention, during the public hearing session, were tabled by the government in the august House on November 10th, 2023.

They seek to establish an independent electoral commission and address key democratic reforms that aim to level the political playing field in the upcoming elections.

The bills, which will be deliberated before being assented into law after the second reading, are expected to reshape the country’s political and electoral landscape.

The bills are embracing President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s 4Rs philosophy in maintaining peace, democracy and stability in the country.

The 4Rs represent Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding, and are essential for addressing the current social, political and economic issues in the country.

Speaking recently President Samia during the installation service of the presiding Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), committed to create a strong nation made up of individuals, who value one another and will promote solidarity in the process of national-building.

President Samia noted that the government has a sincere commitment to strengthening democracy in the country with a great sense of transparency.

“Unfortunately, some activists mistakenly believe they are advocating for democracy, while in the actual sense, they are not,” she said.

She insisted that the government will keep defending the nation’s democratic principles and make sure conditions are favourable for democracy to thrive, which includes the freedom of worship.

President Samia’s wide-ranging reforms have led to a new political dispensation in Tanzania. She has placed a strong emphasis on reconciliation, resilience, reform and rebuilding, her 4Rs philosophy.

During the Parliament session, the Standing Committee will submit reports of the activities implemented in 2023, as 250 normal questions and 24 on spot questions will be answered by the responsible ministries.

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