We’ll continue to fight for our rights - CHADEMA

01Jan 2018
Felister Peter
The Guardian
We’ll continue to fight for our rights - CHADEMA

THE opposition CHADEMA party has outlined the continued fight for democracy, freedom of speech, and a new national constitution as its main agenda for 2018.

The country’s leading opposition party will also push for the right of political parties to conduct public rallies, whereby it plans to file cases at the East African Court of Justice and other local and international courts, chairman Freeman Mbowe said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

“We are going to stand for our rights. Opposition parties in this country have now been turned into enemies of the state. We have been barred from our right to hold public meetings since 2010,” Mbowe told a media conference at his Mikocheni residence in the city to close the year.

He asserted that the government is violating the national constitution in banning political rallies and denying people the right to speech.

CHADEMA now intends to take the matter to the National Assembly, and submit a report on the state of affairs to top organs of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), he added.

Said Mbowe, who is also member of parliament for Hai constituency: “We want the government to clearly state whether this country is in a single party or multiparty system. Pretending to be in a multiparty system while political parties are denied their basic rights is a fallacy.”

He proposed a dialogue involving all political parties, national security organs, the government and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to ensure availability of an independent election body.

He also said religious clerics should be allowed to voice their opinions about the government and political scenario of the day, asserting that the current constitution provides for this right.

According to Mbowe, opposition political parties have experienced hard times during the first two years of the fifth phase government, and 2017 was a particularly tough year for them.

It is difficult to compare the current political landscape with that of during the fourth phase government “when parties were allowed to do politics day and night,” he stated.

On the current government’s fight against corruption, he said although it is a good thing, it is being done wrongly. Some people involved in big corruption scandals have yet to be prosecuted while justice is also being delayed for those already on trial, he asserted.

“The war against corruption should be fair. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Mbowe also announced that CHADEMA’s Singida East legislator Tundu Lissu will flown from Nairobi to another hospital in Europe on January 6 for further treatment on injuries suffered in an apparent assassination attempt last September.

“He (Lissu) has completed his medical treatment at the Nairobi hospital. He will be admitted to a hospital in Europe this week for the last phase of his treatment which will mostly involve body exercises,” the CHADEMA chairman said.

He said the bill for Lissu’s treatment at the Nairobi hospital has reached almost 1 billion/- ($350,000), which was paid by the party and contributions from various people.

Lissu was last week reported to have managed to stand on his own feet for the first time since the attack by as yet unknown people in Dodoma on September 7.

He has been bed-ridden since then, before a photograph was recently posted on his Facebook page showing him standing with the help of two hospital nurses.