Dar mayoral election circus continues

24Jan 2016
Guardian On Sunday
Dar mayoral election circus continues

The opposition MPs and councilors of Ilala and Kinondoni Municipalities thronged the polling booth at Karimjee grounds en-masse yesterday, amid speculations that their rivaling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) challengers were conspiring to take them for a ride following an abrupt indefinite suspension of the Dar es Salaam mayoral elections.

Chadema Acting Secretary General Salum Mwalimu

Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) and Civic United Front (CUF) camped at the polling station as news broke out that the City Council acting director Philip Mwakyusa had indefinitely postponed the elections without giving further details.
The council had earlier set January 23 (yesterday) as the elections date, but the CCM aligned acting director announced postponement on Friday, prompting the opposition into smelling a rat in the election saga.
“We just received a letter of postponement this morning; and because we were not sure of what was going on, we suspected a foul play from our opponents,” Chadema Deputy Secretary General Salum Mwalimu told reporters at the party’s Headquarters in Kinondoni yesterday.
“We needed to ensure that nothing suspicious was going on given the bitter experience we endured in the just ended mayoral elections in two municipalities. We were worried since the letter had not stated when the election will be held,” he said.
He said the letter had a lot to be desired enough to signal an alarm that it was a hoax meant to invoke Ukawa’s absence in the elections, so that CCM could easily declare themselves winners.
“We had to prevent this from happening; that’s why we resorted to throng Karimjee Hall,” he said alleging that there was a dirty trick played by CCM and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) at the interest of the former.
Mwalimu also said his side could not afford losing the elections involving 87 seats from the opposition against 74 seats from CCM. The Dar city mayor is elected from the council’s majority.
Elaborating the issue, he said on Thursday the Kinondoni Municipal Director, Aron Kagurumjuli, wrote a letter to the Mayor of the Council with reference number KMU / .21 / VOL.1 / 2016/01, informing him to have received a list of 11 MPs from CCM who have been certified by the Electoral Commission (NEC).
The letter was meant to inform the Mayor the names had delayed in the first council meeting. Yet he said in their letter dated January 15, CCM wrote to the Municipal Director (Kinondoni) CW / KN / .25 / 15 / Vol.2 / 81 nominating 13 names of MPs and Councilors some of whom came from Zanzibar.
According to Mwalimu the two letters had some contradictions considering that CCM also sent another letter to NEC regarding the names of MPs eligible for the election.
CCM spokesperson and Minister for Information Nape Nnauye could not be reached for comment yesterday but Mwalimu said the matter has been reported to the police for investigation.