Analysts bitter on new election constituencies

NEC chairperson Judge (rtd) Damian Lubuva

Political analysts have voiced concern over the 26 new election constituencies, triggering fear and criticism over the “sinking” economy consequently to exhaustive administrative costs.

Dr Benson Bana, head of political science and public administration at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said: “There is no need for new administrative boundaries.” Cautioning on the country’s sinking economy; he said it is inappropriate to have the new administration blocks while a number of public services (education and health) had not been well addressed.

“That is why we even query the review of criterions used to get the constituencies. If it’s the question of geographical factor, infrastructures have been well improved and with addition to proper use of information communication technology –representatives can easily get to the people.” He went on to propose the use of councils or districts to obtain lawmakers instead of adding constituencies. “What the government can only do is to improve telecommunication facilities and road networks to allow people to easily communicate,” he added.

On Monday the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced that it will add 26 new election constituencies bringing the total number to 265 countrywide. Speaking to The Guardian in a telephone interview, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Executive Secretary Godfrey Simbeye said the foundation has received the news “with big surprise.”

We have been at loggerhead with the government on unnecessary government spending which does not correspond with revenue collection. But the new election boundaries speak the same, he told ‘The Guardian’. He said the best option is for the government to suspend such plans and concentrate on areas that will add revenue collections.

“President Kikwete has introduced several new administrative boundaries … this will be a huge burden to his successor,” Simbeye noted, adding that the move is likely to hinder a positive headway to transforming the country into donor-free nation. Another analyst, Prof Kitila Mkumbo of the University of Dar es Salaam said the new constituencies would be a big cost to the national.

Despite the fact that “we should respect the decision of the appointing authority,” an addition of 26 fresh constituencies, he said, would have serious consequences to the economy. Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba pocking holes on the country’s constitution said the nation has failed to clearly prohibit the addition of unnecessary constituencies.

“This is where we have failed. We expected the proposed constitution could have addressed this shortcoming, but a u-turn was made in the public opinion during the constituent assembly,” she said.
She described the new constituencies as a play-game for politicians to win self interest and in particular to weakening the oppositions.

Announcing the new constituencies, NEC chairperson Judge (rtd) Damian Lubuva said the commission had taken into consideration the growing population and the increase of new councils.
The 26 new voting constituencies was a result of six- curved out of the increase in the population and 20 out of the increased number of councils.

The constituencies are: Handeni Urban, Makambako, Butiama, Nanyamba, Makambako, Tarime Urban, Tunduma, Msimbo, Kavu, Geita Urban and Mafinga Urban.Others are Ushetu, Nzega Urban, Kahama Urban, Kondoa Urban, Newala Urban, Bunda Urban, Mbulu Urban, Ndanda, Madaba, Mbinga Urban, Mbagala, Kibamba, Vwawa, Monongo, Mlinda and Uliambulu.
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