The main opposition party in Tanzania sustains its stand in boycotting the 2025 General Elections if an independent electoral commission won’t be in place.
“In sync with demanding a new and public oriented constitution, we also want a free and fair electoral commission, failure to which our party will not take part in the forthcoming 2025 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections,” the Chairperson for the Chama Cha Demokrasia Na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), Freeman Mbowe asserts.
Mbowe and other CHADEMA officials maintained their position during a public rally, the first to be held in Arusha Region in five years.
The meeting was in honor of the former Member of Parliament for Arusha, Godbless Lema who has just jetted in from Canada, where he had been living in exile since December 2020.
Both Lema and his Charman, Mbowe left the country shortly after the 2020 General Elections.
After the polls the electoral commission declared the late John Pombe Magufuli the Chama Cha Mapinduzi incumbent, to be the winner of the Presidential race.
CHADEMA’s Presidential Candidate, Tundu Lissu, later left the country in haste, fleeing to Belgium saying he feared for his life.
Lissu was previously showered with bullets in Dodoma, in 2017, an incident which rendered him paralysed for months.
Mbowe and Lema were later arrested after the 2020 elections but only to be released shortly after.
They both escaped to Kenya, where international communities assisted the latter to seek refuge in Canada.
“I have now returned home to continue with the struggle for democracy,” Lema stated but added that he had to leave his family in Canada because he was still not sure how safe the country is.
But as he landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport, the entourage for President Samia Suluhu was also arriving at the terminal.
The fact that President Samia took time to greet the hundreds of opposition supporters who were waiting for their politician, was the first indication that Lema later admitted that it helped him realize that things are slowly but surely changing for the better.