'Get the army...out of politics': Tanzania MP

Among other engagements, the joint civil society delegation met Honorable Tundu. A.M. Lissu, Chadema's Chief Whip in Parliament in Dar es Saalam yesterday, 27 November 2012. The joint civil-society delegation informed Hon Lissu that Zimbabwe was at a time where regional support is critical. They also mentioned that the Zimbabwe political landscape is gravitating from the key guidelines of the GPA into political tension and violence that has potential to replicate the violent period of June 2008 during the presidential election re-run.


The delegation emphasised that Zimbabwe is experiencing a shift from fulfilling the Global Political Agreement; as political contestation grows and that the thread that seems to hold the GPA together is only meant for the convenience of election leverages rather than creating sustainable democratic processes. The team raised issues around the militarisation of electoral processes and highlighted state sponsored violence as an antithesis to a democratic transition. They pointed to the trajectory toward a fallacy election which will mark a reversal of all positive efforts made by SADC to date.


The Chief Whip agreed that it was very important to ensure the implementation of the agreed reforms so that Zimbabwe can have a free and fair election.


'We don't need to be persuaded to support your cause, we are converts. Your electoral system is still very much the same. The staffing of the commission [ZEC] is very important. We feel heavily responsible for what is happening in Zimbabwe because Mugabe and his cohorts spent much time in Tanzania in the 1970s', he said.


The Chief Whip condemned the involvement of the security sector in electoral processes.


'Our security services [in Tanzania] have been heavily politicised but are not as blatant as in Zimbabwe. If you think of ZANLA and ZANU there are two wings of the same birds. Get the army, police and intelligence out of politics and get them under civilian control'. The MP further highlighted that it was in Tanzania's interest to see that Zimbabwe is democratic. He highlighted that the success of Zimbabwe would give hope to the region to peacefully solve its own problems. 'If Zimbabwe fails some of the leaders in the region will think that authoritarianism works', he emphasised.


To demonstrate his support Chadema's Chief Whip in Parliament committed to


a) Demand the position of Tanzania government on the violence in Zimbabwe and on the failure of Zimbabwe's government to adhere to timelines in implementing GPA reforms
b) Raise a motion in Parliament so that there can be debate on   Tanzania's position on the Zimbabwe crisis

c) Update the Tanzania Parliamentary committee on foreign affairs so that it can place the Zimbabwe question on the agenda

d) Provide checks and balances to the foreign affairs ministry and the government at large so that they keep on track

e) Raise the Zimbabwe issue with fellow SADC parliamentarians and the Pan African Parliament


However, he acknowledged that it was not going to be easy to convince everyone in government but his party will push hard.

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