Let’s provide constructive opinions on new elections bills

TANZANIA: GO East or West, peace cannot exist without justice. Justice, in turn, cannot exist without fairness. Fairness, in its essence, hardly exists without people-centred development.

And development, crucially, cannot exist without democracy. But democracy itself cannot thrive without respect for the identity of people and their cultures.

Reflecting on this, the shift of Tanzania to multiparty systems, the growth of opposition parties, and the opening up of the electoral process were major challenges in the political landscape that needed to be addressed.

It was good that successive governments were giving citizens time for consultations. By listening to citizens, either through ombudsmen or task forces, the government deserves praise for promoting democracy built on recommendations assessing the state of politics in the country.

This implies accommodating the views of Tanzanians on the kind of justice and democracy they want. This is important because everybody counts in a democracy.

There will never be true democracy until every responsible and law-abiding adult, regardless of race, sex, color, or creed, has their own inalienable and unpurchasable voice in government. Under the stewardship of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the government should be acknowledged for bringing everyone onboard to address any hitches in electoral reforms.

This is the Tanzania every citizen wants. It is worth noting that President Samia’s government has been transparent and flexible, allowing political rallies to take place so that any ideas for free and fair elections can be accommodated.

This also opens a chapter for political reconciliation as the Bills (the National Electoral Commission Bill 2023, the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill 2023, and the Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Government Elections Bill 2023) were recently presented in the Parliament to ensure future elections are conducted fairly and peacefully.

Everyone is invited and should feel free to present their views to the task force acting as the ombudsman, so that Tanzania, which unites us, can improve in the democratic framework and electoral procedure, as it has been since independence.

It is the desire of every Tanzanian to build a better Tanzania in the political, economic, and social spheres. This can only be achieved if citizens themselves are active participants, rather than distant complainers.

Everyone should envision engaging in the public expression of views from January 6th to 10th this year on the amendment of these laws, because this is our baby. Come one, come all.

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