June 23, 2022

Tanzania Ruling Party Backs Down, Holds Talks With Opposition Over New Constitution

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Election rally of Tanzania’s dominant ruling party CCM during previous election

Tanzania’s dominant ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party has opened direct talks with main opposition CHADEMA party in effort to ease tensions that have threatened to tire down the country.

The two sides have been at war every election cycle. CHADEMA leaders have survived multiple assassination attempts, forcing them to flee the country especially under former President John Pombe Magufuli.

Immediately following the 2020 polls, the opposition leader Tundu Lissu had to be aided to leave the country by European embassies in a negotiated exit. The government was determined to put him behind bars, along with many of his colleagues.

Current President Samia Hassan Suluhu who took over in March last year following sudden death of Magufuli whom she had been deputizing.

The President immediately embarked on a reconciliation with Lissu, meeting him in Belgium early this year where they held face to face talks.

For years, the opposition has demanded for constitutional reforms to create level playing field during the elections that have been dominated by CCM for decades. The opposition accuses CCM of dominating all institutions that directly deal with elections.

It has emerged that CCM and CHADEMA have held direct talks twice recently to iron out their differences. It is something that had never been envisaged before.

CCM party’s head of ideology and spokesman Shaka Hamdu Shaka told the media on Wednesday that CCM was committed to constitutional reform and fully backed President Suluhu’s reconciliation efforts with the opposition.

The party spokesman was informing the country about deliberations of CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s told organ.

The NEC has directed the government to revise the process of writing a new constitution, saying the country needs reforms that would meet the current needs.

NEC said it is the ideal time for a new constitution and tasked the government to come up with the best practice to revise the constitutional reform process for the vested national interest and development.

NEC described President Suluhu as a “mature diplomat and outstanding politician” for her reconciliation initiatives.

“President Samia’s determination has proven to the country and the world that she is politically and diplomatically well versed especially for her guts to choose the political reconciliation path with opposition parties to unify the nation,” said the CCM spokesman.

Shaka said President Suluhu’s determination, boldness and vision to open up reconciliation doors has won hearts of the committee, saying the move will bring up political harmony for the betterment of the nation’s unity.

The CCM’s top organ also called for swift hearing and ruling of the political cases pending in various courts in order to bolster reconciliation and political stability.

The ruling party also vowed to maintain a fair playing field for all political parties, as a way of promoting reconciliation and cementing national unity.

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