The National Stakeholders’ conference to discuss the state of democracy in Tanzania toward the 2024-2025 elections was held on August 22-23, 2023 at the Diamond Jubilee Hall, Dar es Salaam.
The conference was organised by the Tanzanian Centre for Democracy (TCD) to foster dialogue, and consensus-building and enhance multiparty democracy in the country.
The conference provided a platform for political parties, key democracy stakeholders, and experts to examine the current state of democracy, address challenges, and propose improvements for future elections.
As a result, they came up with 21 resolutions to improve multi-party democratic space in Tanzania.
On September 3, 2023, TCD’s Chairman Prof Lipumba while presenting 21 resolutions to the public affirmed that, Tanzanias democratic system has constituted a vital foundation for peace in the country for nearly three decades.
He underscored that the resolutions had been meticulously crafted through negotiations involving political parties, civil society organisations, the government, development partners and several foreign embassies in Tanzania.
Prof Lipumba outlined several resolutions, including measures to unblock the constitution-making process, introduce minimum amendments to the constitution and laws, and permit the scrutiny of presidential election
results among other issues.
Acknowledging the intricacies of achieving a new constitution before 2025, the stakeholders reached a consensus to implement essential amendments to the current constitution.
These amendments would pave the way for the establishment of an independent and impartial electoral commission and other constitutional reforms aimed at promoting free and fair elections and fostering
widespread democratic engagement.
Prof Lipumba cited President Samia Suluhu Hassans statement in Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, in April 2022, emphasizing that "Freedom and Peace are the fundamental pillars of
This served as a reaffirmation of the resolutions recently formulated, which are dedicated to bolstering democracy in Tanzania.
As clarified by Prof Lipumba, these resolutions primarily centered on constitutional, electoral and political reforms in anticipation of local government elections, the general election, and other forthcoming
Among the resolutions, some entail the submission of a constitutional amendment bill to parliament, along with two additional bills: one for the establishment of an independent electoral commission and another for
a new electoral law, mirroring the process undertaken in 1992.
Furthermore, the stakeholders sought to eliminate the financial requirement as a criterion for candidacy in elections.
They also proposed that the government accept aid from development partners like UNDP to enhance the capabilities of the Electoral Commission.
Concerning Zanzibar, the resolution underscored the necessity for an independent electoral commission and advocated for the consolidation of elections into a single-day event, as opposed to the two-day process
witnessed in 2020.
He further emphasized the significance of political will among political parties and the government in embracing the concept of reconciliation in the lead-up to 2025.
In a compelling recommendation, the Chairman of TCD emphasized the necessity for legislation mandating that political parties incorporate a specified percentage of representation for women, youth, and individuals
with disabilities within their leadership and decision-making structures.
Furthermore, the stakeholders resolved to eliminate barriers that impede civil society organizations from offering civic education and voter awareness initiatives.
To foster comprehensive stakeholder and public involvement in the processes of constitutional and electoral law reform, the stakeholders also urged the government to establish a transparent schedule outlining
the dates for key milestones in these transformations. This includes the timeline for constitutional amendments, electoral law revisions, and the establishment of the electoral commission.
Prof Lipumba engaged with his political colleague, arguably one of the most prominent figure in civil society politics, Jenerali Ulimwemgu.
He emphasized the significance of ongoing civic education and open discourse in nurturing a culture of dialogue, thereby ensuring that Tanzanians are adequately equipped to participate in diverse democratic
He also suggested the review and alignment of laws governing the police force with democratic principles, although he did not specify which particular laws required revision.
The press conference, which took place at the Tanzania Centre for Democracys offices in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam, was attended by the political parties’ members of Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) which are ACT – Wazalendo, CCM, CHADEMA, CUF, NCCR – Mageuzi and CHAUMMA.
From the two-day symposium of democracy stakeholders to the press conference on September 3rd, 2023, this inclusive event showcased Tanzanias joint commitment to promote democracy.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Seif Kabelele is a Public Relations and Communications