Lissu’s fate unclear as NEC committee fails to convene

©The Citizen

Dar es Salaam. The fate of Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu is still unclear after the National Electoral Commission (NEC’s) ethics committee failed to meet yesterday.

The NEC director of elections, Dr Wilson Mahera said on Sunday that Mr Lissu has to be grilled by the committee over his claim that President John Magufuli, who is seeking re-election via the CCM ticket, met District Executive Directors (DEDs) to set strategies of rigging the elections in Dodoma.

The DEDs, who are presidential appointees, double as election supervisors of the General Election, which will be held on October 28.

The firebrand politician, who survived an assassination attempt in 2017, also accused the electoral body of planning to steal his votes.

But, Mr Lissu told residents of Mugumu in Serengeti District, Mara Region on Monday that he would not attend the grilling because communication procedures were not followed.

Yesterday, Mr Lissu, a former Singida East lawmaker and Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) president, did not hold any rally and instead travelled to Arusha where he is expected to hold a press conference today before addressing a rally in Moshi later.

On Monday, the party’s secretary general, Mr John Mnyika, told The Citizen that no letter had been received summoning Mr Lissu for the grilling.

However, yesterday, Dr Mahera told a section of journalists at the side-line of election stakeholders meeting in Arusha that already Mr Lissu has received a letter dispatched at the opposition party’s headquarters.

“He made serious allegations aimed at inflicting panic among Tanzanians. Some people would believe his statements if we remained silent as others have believed that there are plans to sabotage elections which are not true,” he told journalists.

He said the election ethics committee requires the accused person to be served with a letter of summon not letter than 72 hours after violating regulations and that the recipient given 48 hours after receiving the letter to appear before the committee.

“He will not attend the grilling today, but regulations demand provision of 48 hours to the respondent have been considered,” he said.

He expressed his hope that Mr Lissu will attend the meeting, saying it would be up to the committee to decide on his fate in case of failure.

According to him, the committee formed by representatives from all 15 political parties participating this year’s general elections to decide whether to punish him, impose fine or issue warnings.

Dr Mahera ceased the opportunity to warn candidates and CCM supporters involved in destroying placards of opposition candidates and vice versa, observing that they will face the law if caught.

Addressing a meeting of stakeholders, Dr Mahera said he was passing through a difficult and trying moment, following threats he was receiving from outside and inside the country.

“I have received a letter from a US national called Mr Amsterdam who is a lawyer threatening the electoral body that people are complaining outside the country that they are mistreated and now he is portraying himself as someone cherishing Tanzanians a lot,” he said, asking participants to pray for the country.

Furthermore, he said other people used campaign platforms to threaten some Tanzanians that they would end up at The Hague (the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Regarding the October 28 General Election, he said preparations have reached 80 percent, warning that stern measures would be extended against citizens who will be caught selling their voters IDs.

He reminded candidates to hold civilised campaigns, observing that authorities have been patient to misconducts, but now they will start acting.

Meanwhile, police fired teargas in Ifakara town yesterday to disperse a crowd of supporters, when Chadema’s presidential candidate running mate, Mr Salum Mwalimu tried to greet residents who had gathered for a rally expected to be addressed by the councillorship aspirant.

Police’s decision aimed to prevent Mr Mwalimu from addressing a rally in the area because the electoral commission’s schedule did not indicate that that he was supposed to be in the area.

Therefore, the law enforcers escorted Mr Mwalimu’s motorcade outside the area as it was heading to Morogoro Urban from Ulanga.

Addressing a rally to sell the Morogoro Urban parliamentary candidate Devotha Minja, the former television broadcaster pledged to repeal a law preventing workers from walking home with withdrawal benefits payable by social security funds saying it was exploitative.