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Election stakeholders sign ‘rule of the game’ agreement

ZANZIBAR's key election stakeholders signed the 2020 General Election codes of conduct here yesterday amid prospects of free, fair and peaceful polls.

Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), the revolutionary government and political parties with permanent registrations inked the document, which envisages peaceful and civilised election campaigns and voting.

Deputy Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Ali Ahmed challenged all the political parties to observe the signed regulations to ensure that finally Zanzibar emerges victorious after the October 28 general elections.

The deputy registrar commended the electoral body for the professional and highly transparent election process, saying the exemplary performance will ultimately yield free and fair elections.

"I'm so far satisfied with the transparent and participatory election process, which has been highly transparent and participatory. We should this year expect the best ever democratic elections," he said.

Save for Alliance for Democratic Change, which didn't attend the signing ceremony at Idris Abdul-Wakil hall, the other 18 political parties saw their representatives ink the codes of conduct that will regulate their behaviours during the entire election process.

The deputy registrar implored all political parties to observe the signed regulations towards free, fair and peaceful elections.

"Yes, we have signed the rules of the game; we have to observe them all the time because signing is one thing and practicing them is quite another," counselled Mr Ali, reminding that the Political Parties Act remains intact and will be mercilessly applied against any party attempting to disrupt the elections.

ZEC Chairman Chief Justice (retired) Hamid Mahmoud Hamid described the regulations as inevitable in reinforcing peace and tranquility during the 2020 general elections.

The rules among other things guide the use of vehicles, billboards, posters and other campaign materials; prohibit corruption, provocation speeches; and other misconduct during the elections.

"These regulations are highly important for successful elections...let all parties observe them," the chairman told the political party representatives.

Besides ZEC and the government, the 18 parties which signed the document are CCM, Chadema, ACT-Wazalendo, Civic United Front, NCCR-Mageuzi, Tanzania Labour Party, Demokrasia Makini, Democratic Party and Sauti ya Umma.

Others are Chama Cha Kijamii, United Peoples' Democratic Party, Party for Peoples' Redemption, United Democratic Party, Union for Multiparty Democracy, National Reconstruction Alliance, National League for Democracy, African Democratic Alliance Party and Alliance for African Farmers Party.

Meanwhile, journalists have to embrace professionalism and integrity in the coverage of election campaigns, voting and result announcement or risk plunging the country into chaos.

ZEC Vice-Chairman Mabrouk Jabu Makame reminded the media houses to maintain truth and fairness especially during the general election campaigns.

"The media have a critical role to play in preserving the country's peace and harmony," Mr Makame told reporters and editors during ZEC organised one-day seminar on election coverage on Tuesday.

He said the electoral body expects members of the media to preserve and uphold the country's peace, enlighten the public on the election process as well as provide equal opportunity for all political parties that participate in the election campaigns.

Opening the seminar, the ZEC Chairman asked journalists to avoid deceptive and unsubstantiated information to ensure that the country conducts peaceful elections.

A WILDLIFE researcher has said ...

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Author: MASATO MASATO in Zanzibar

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