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Tanzania's Main Opposition Party Seeks Alliance


Tanzania’s main opposition party has announced that it will relinquish some control of the nation’s shadow cabinet of parliament. They say this will help unify the opposition and create one voice. The shadow ministers and the deputy of the shadow cabinet are meant to protect and pursue the interests of the opposition groups.

Hamad Rashid Mohammed is the chairman of the shadow cabinet and leader of the minority group in the Tanzanian parliament. He Spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the opposition alliance in the Tanzanian parliament.

“Traditionally we used to have a united front since 1995 in the parliament and even within the political spectrum of Tanzania. Chedema and CUF used to work together; we did the same in 2000. Unfortunately after the election in 2005, our party, when we saw that we have enough number of people to form the opposition we decided to form an independent opposition. But as you know in politics you always talk, you discuss and dialogue and so on and so forth. We found out that it would be reasonable for us as long as we are very few in parliament to join with our colleagues and form the official opposition together, that’s the whole concept.”

Mohammed explains the rationale behind the opposition alliance. “Two main reasons one: we are very few and the opposition is very weak in Tanzania mainland in particular. We thought that we as members of parliament, if we can air our views together, then the people of Tanzania will feel we are serious as an opposition group. Second…is that, as you know…most of our member of parliament from CUF are from Islands and we didn’t get any seat in mainland. So we thought that it would be very wise to include our friends, and colleagues who represent that mainland part of Tanzania so that we can have both views from both unions for our country.”

Mohammed has a positive outlook about achieving the objectives of the alliance. “It will succeed because we have one main goal: to stand for the opposition to stand for the people of Tanzania. And for that reason we think that we are going to achieve our goals. As you heard yesterday we had a budget session but before that we had a meeting with the president of Tanzania. And we went there as an opposition and we presented our views as a group of opposition without any differences and he acknowledge that.”

He added that the opposition in the Tanzanian parliament has performed well despite their numerous problems.

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