Confusion Remains after Eala polls

Dodoma. Confusion continues to shroud the fate of election of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) members held on Tuesday night as Parliament failed to get all the nine required representatives.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai

The National Assembly endorsed only seven candidates excluding Chadema’s Ezekiel Wenje and Lawrence Masha who were to fill two slots allocated for the main Opposition party.

After a long heated debated among MPs, which dragged the process to well past midnight, it was agreed that the secret ballots be conducted with regard to all candidates, but the Chadema candidates were elected on the YES or NO basis.

Earlier, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, wanted the two to be elected using open ballots by saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Mr Wenje and Mr Masha were then blocked after getting more ‘NOs’ than ‘YESs’ via the secret ballot.

However, as Parliament is preparing new arrangements for electing the new Chadema reps at Eala to fill the two positions, the party says the whole election was ‘null and void’ as the Eala voting procedures were not properly followed.

“The two posts are ours and we nominated two people whom we think are the right ones to fill them. Unfortunately, our colleagues from the ruling party played it unfairly to block our candidates. This is not acceptable and we will make sure we nominate them again,” said Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe outside the debating chamber just after the results were announcement.

The results were announced at around 1.10am Wednesday as it took too long to agree on election models and later the counting which also took long.

“We will sit and decide as a political party. We could even go to court,” he added.

The fate of the contested seats

The National Assembly’s head of Information, Education and Communications Unit, Mr Owen Mwandumbya, told The Citizen yesterday that the Clerk, who is also the returning officer of the Eala election, would issue guidelines later on how the two opposition representatives would be voted in to fill their slots and join the rest of the elected team.

However, the Opposition chief whip, Mr Tundu Lissu, maintained that the election was marred by irregularities and that the laws and regulations do not provide any room for a by-election.

“First of all, there were four candidates in the group of CUF while the Standing Orders require only three,” says Mr Lissu.

The fourth candidate, Mr Thomas Malima from CUF withdrew in favour of Mr Habibu Mnyaa, during the introduction time but Mr Lissu argued that this should have been done earlier than that and his name should not have appeared on the ballot paper.

There were also comments from the opposition lawmakers that the elected candidates would not be sworn in as Eala MPs until their Chadema counterparts were endorsed.

However, the Eala Clerk Principal, Mr Charles Kadonya, was quoted yesterday as saying that the Chadema slots were there to stay and their candidates would be accepted for voting once they fulfilled the requirements.

“I believe if there were three candidates from Chadema, they could be elected and avoid the ongoing unnecessary confusions,” opined Mr Kadonya.