Lipumba: Capitalise on Samia’s 4Rs to strengthen democracy

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) Chairperson Professor Ibrahim Lipumba has appealed to political parties and related stakeholders to capitalise on President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s 4Rs philosophy, as opportunity to strengthen the democracy and the country’s laws.

The Head of State’s 4Rs philosophy are reconciliation, resilience, reforms, and rebuilding.

Prof Lipumba made the plea on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam during the launch of a two-day national conference aimed at building collective understanding on the newly passed three electoral laws, namely; the National Election Commission Act 2023, the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Act, 2024, and the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Act 2023.

He urged participants to engage in constructive dialogue to enhance understanding and assess whether the three passed laws meet Tanzanians’ aspirations.

ALSO READ: 4Rs bedrock of Samia’s feats

Furthermore, Prof Lipumba thanked all ambassadors who attended the forum for recognising that democracy is universal. He also announced that in the future, the TCD will organise a national debate on building an inclusive democracy and economy.

The Ambassadors who attended the forum included the US Ambassador Michael Battle and Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania, Didier Chassot. Other participants were government leaders, senior politicians, religious and traditional leaders, scholars, civil society organisations and political parties.

At the meeting, the democracy and election stakeholders expressed their confidence in President Samia’s 4Rs philosophy.

Commenting, TCD Director Bernadetha Kafuko reminded the participants that the aim of the gathering was “to deliberate, reflect and build understanding towards free and fair elections.” “I thank all who provided financial and technical support. We appreciate the US Embassy, Swiss Embassy, Denmark, Switzerland and the European Union,” said TCD Kafuko.

Director Kafuko emphasised the importance of encouraging the participation of various groups in elections, including women, youths and people with disabilities. Speaking at the event, US Ambassador Battle stated: “Voting is not only a right…voting is not only an opportunity, but is also an obligation.” He stressed the importance of freedom of expression and democracy and praised President Samia’s leadership for restoring democracy and promoting broad societal participation in democracy and the economy.

Furthermore, Amb Battle urged Tanzanians to take part in political processes of improving their country and social welfare, adding that the US will continue to support the country.

He insisted that the determination of what is free, fair and responsible lies upon the Tanzanians themselves not political parties. Also, Swiss Ambassador Chassot stressed the vitality of democracy and upholding its values and constitution.

He also emphasised the importance of building and nurturing democracy in the nation, as democracy is a crucial foundation for fostering a creative economy and society.

ALSO READ: How Samia’s 4Rs transformed Tanzania

“Democracy is the fertile soil where creativity flourishes,” he stated. Stressing his points, he said, “It is not an accident that the most vibrant economies in the world bear fingerprints in democracy.” On the other hand, UN Women representative Catherine credited Tanzania for significantly achieving the agenda of women’s representation.

She said Tanzania, under President Samia’s leadership, has made significant strides in gender equality in leadership positions. Presenting an analysis of the laws, Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Dr Anna Henga said there are both positive aspects and challenges. She mentioned improvements in reducing dependence on the budget for running elections annually.

“The law recognises genderbased violence in electoral matters as a legal offence, thereby acknowledging CEDAW and the Maputo Protocol,” she explained.

On his part, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, representing the CCM mainland Vice-Chairman, said Tanzania is more important than any political party.

“It is essential to consider the broader interests and aspirations of Tanzanians rather than those of the parties,” he said.

He cited examples of various countries where elections are supervised by the government, such as India. He also mentioned positive aspects of the new election laws, such as providing security of tenure for electoral commission supervisors.

Prof Kabudi said there are still areas that need to be addressed during post-election, emphasising the need for collective understanding. NCCR-Mageuzi’s ViceChairman, Mr Joseph Selasini, said there was also a need to discuss the law on corruption and the police for more improvements.

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