ELECTORAL REFORMS: Samia’s 4Rs heightened

DAR ES SALAAM: POLITICAL stakeholders have suggested that the amendments to electoral laws should prioritise President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s 4Rs philosophy.

That would ensure that trusted and dedicated leaders are elected to serve the people and the nation as a whole, they argued.

The stakeholders expressed their views during a meeting that brought together political and democratic representatives. The meeting aimed to gather opinions on proposed amendments to the electoral laws, which were introduced for first reading in Parliament in November of last year.

The bills are; the National Electoral Commission Bill 2023, the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill 2023, and the Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Government Elections Bill 2023.

Gracing the opening of the meeting held in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, Zanzibar’s First Vice-President Othman Masoud Othman said that among the 4Rs (Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding), reforms should be given weight in order to facilitate implementation of other Rs.

He said among the important reforms that are needed in the country is building the sense of responsibility at all levels adding that, if political stakeholders want to make reforms in the area of accountability, they should first improve electoral systems.

He emphasised that the bills are not only for the amendment of the laws, but also, they stand for the 4Rs   of which President Samia has been overseeing their implementation.

He said that the major responsibility of the stakeholders is to support Dr Samia and to ensure that the bills are presented in the coming parliament meeting so that they can be approved and be used to meet the current political needs in the country.

For his part, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament and Coordination), Jenista Mhagama urged the National Political Parties Council and all who will be allowed to coordinate the collection of views to present them to the relevant authorities without altering them.

She said that the government would like to get views of political and democratic stakeholders on strengthening democracy in the country.

“Since President Samia initiated the process of getting citizens’ views on various issues several things have been implemented by the government in the democratic space, especially in political parties,” she said.

Earlier, the Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi said that following a meeting involving political stakeholders held in December 2021, in Dodoma, President Samia formed a task force to collect stakeholders’ opinions on improving and strengthening multi-party democracy in the country.

Judge Mutungi said that among the comments that were made included making amendments in the electoral laws and legislations governing political parties in the country.

He said that Dr Samia received the recommendations given by the taskforce and she directed various institutions to start working on them including the amendment of the electoral laws.

“Through that opportunity, the National Political Parties Council through the Registrar of Political Parties organised this meeting so that political stakeholders including politicians, journalists, religious leaders and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can air their views regarding the bills,” he said.

The panel discussion included CCM’s veteran politicians Stephen Wasira, Mama Gertrude Mongella, ACT Wazalendo’s Secretary General, Ado Shaibu, Mr Salum Mwalimu from CHADEMA, and Secretary General for Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC) Doyo Hassan Doyo.

They said that they are conversant with   President Samia’s 4Rs philosophy by more than 80 per cent.

According to Mr Wasira in 4Rs particularly, reconciliation is intended to bridge the gap to ensure that the country has a vibrant multi-party system and strengthening national unity.

“4Rs is going to ensure that our political differences do not divide the nation …President’s philosophy is helping us get here since reconciliation requires political will and trust,” he underscored.

For his part, ACT Wazalendo’s Secretary General Shaibu noted that the philosophy opened up a new political chapter and strengthened further the basis of democracy in the country.

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