Bunge for proportional representation

By Peter Tindwa
Published May 11th 2004 in IPP Media (Tanzania)

Every registered political party in Tanzania that has taken part in the elections, but did not win a seat in the Parliament will be represented under proportional representation system to be introduced next year.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Pius Msekwa, said this in Dar es Salaam yesterday during talks with a visiting seven-man delegation of the American Council of Young Political Leaders from the United States.

“We want to introduce a proportional representation system to ensure every political party is represented in the Parliament. The introduction is part of our efforts to strengthen democracy,” he stated.

According to the Speaker, the new system will be effective after the forthcoming general elections.“We have come to understand that there is a need to improve our electoral system because currently some political parties get few seats,” he said.

He said since the introduction of multiparty democracy a decade ago, opposition parties have continued to gain ground, competing aggressively with the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

Msekwa, however, acknowledged that our parliamentary system is different from that of the US.“We are in the learning process, gaining experience from other countries to lay down a strong foundation for democracy,” he said.

Under multiparty system, the electorate has a wider range of choice, to elect their representative or leader, he added.Commenting on the country’s determination to ensure peace and stability in neighbouring countries, Msekwa said Tanzania has continued to work with other countries to restore peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region, specifically in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Marjorie Strayer, Adrian Smith, Lee Wendell Loder, Mark Luckner, Denny Sumpter, Charles Davis and Janea Homoquist form the seven-man delegation.

Strayer told Msekwa that they are in Tanzania to exchange views in politics and parliamentary affairs, democracy, local governments’ operations, poverty eradication strategies and progress attained in economic reforms.

Yesterday evening the delegation was scheduled for discussions with the Speaker of the Zanzibar House of Representatives, Kificho Ameir Pandu.

Members of the delegation are visiting the country at the invitation of the Bunge Foundation, which operates under the auspices of the Office of the Speaker.