Dar es Salaam — As tension in the country rises ahead of what the Opposition has termed Defiance Day, stakeholders are urging the government and Chadema to have a peace dialogue.
Religious leaders, political analysts and human rights activists yesterday who spoke to The Citizen appealing to politicians to note that dialogue was the only way to resolving misunderstandings.
Tanzania Chief Sheikh Abubakar Zubeir bin Ali said that the two sides should seek a way of meeting around a negotiating table. According to him, handling this matter needs wisdom more than a show of power and such wisdom can only be found when people sit and talk together.
“The government needs to ask itself why Chadema has reached this point. Why not listen to the party, which exists legally?” he wondered.
Sheikh Abubakar opined that Chadema has every right to conduct demonstrations because this was provided for in the country’s laws.
“It is strange when we see police officers conducting drills in public. What does that indicate? We need to protect the peace we have enjoyed as a democratic nation,” added the Chief Sheikh.
For his part, Political Science lecturer Richard Mbunda of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said there was still room for the two sides to meet and discuss their problems.
“Demonstration and rallies should be conducted depending on what will be agreed on at the negotiation table,” he said.
He concurred that Chadema has the right to hold demonstrations as per the laws of the land, especially if that is to remain relevant and competitive in the political arena.
“Mr Kikwete, for instance, developed a very good rapport with the Opposition. He could be instrumental in times such as this one,” said. He reminded the government and Chadema to recall waht happened in Zanzibar in 2001 when the Civic United Front (CUF) clashed with the police causing the deaths of at least 26 people, destruction of property and making Tanzania to produce refugees for the first time ever in its history.
He also accused the Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi, of failing to exercise impartiality in regulating political activities. “The Registrar should advise the President to allow political activities to continue because they are provided for in the laws,” he said.