The chairman of Tanzania’s main opposition, Chadema, Freeman Mbowe, has defended the party’s decision to suspend 19 women members of Parliament.
The women are members of Chadema’s youth council Bavicha, serving as special seat legislators.
“The 19 members had already been scraped off by the party for their mistrust by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in November 2020, even the former Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai was informed and the chairman of the party’s registrar,” he said on Friday at a press conference in Dar es Salaam.
It was his first briefing since being released for remand two weeks ago after terrorism charges, among others, levelled against him nine months ago were dropped. He was incarcerated for eight months.
Mr Mbowe said the decision to strip the 19 women of their party membership was unanimous. Chadema holds that it did not present nor propose, neither did the party chairman endorse them for the seats.
Article 66 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania requires that political parties that took part in the general election and obtained at least five per cent of the total valid voters for parliamentary election will propose to the National Electoral Commission the names of women based on the proportion of votes obtained by each party.
The 19 MPs appealed, and the party’s general council is expected to determine their fate during its meeting slated for next month.