Application filed: 27th May 2019.

Articles: 6(d), 7(2), 8(1) & 38(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

Rule: 21 of the East African Court of Justice Rules of Procedure, 2013.

Subject matter: Restrain order.

The Applicants seek for Court orders refraining the Respondent from applying and using certain provisions of the Political Parties (Amendment) Act 2019, which are challenged in Reference No. 3 of 2019 Freeman A. Mbowe & 4 Others vs The Attorney General of the United Republic of Tanzania until the Reference which is pending before this court is heard and determined.

In the Reference, the Applicants are challenging Tanzania Political Parties (Amendments) Act No. 1 of 2019 in its current form for allegedly; placing unjustified restrictions on the freedom of association; being discriminative and restricting people’s right to participate in public affairs; denying people’s right to personal security and safety; and contravening the principles of democracy, rule of law, good governance and human rights which the United Republic of Tanzania (Respondent) has committed to abide by through the EAC Treaty, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Applicants are natural persons and citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania. The first Applicant is a member and party chair of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), a political party registered in Tanzania. The second Applicant is a member and party leader of Alliance for Change and Transparent- (WAZALENDO, a political party registered in Tanzania). The third Applicant is a member and party Chair of the Chama cha Umma, a political party registered in Tanzania. The fourth Applicant is a former first Vice President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and a member of the Alliance for Change and Transparent (WAZALENDO), a political party registered in Tanzania. The fifth Applicant is Zanzibar Deputy Secretary General for Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA). The Respondent is the Attorney General of the Republic of Tanzania sued on behalf of the Government of Tanzania.

It is the Applicants’ case that, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) through the office of the Registrar of Political Parties has announced applying provisions of the Political Parties (Amendment) Act, 2019 which are complained of by the Applicants in Reference No.3 of 2019 Freeman A. Mbowe & 4 Others vs The Attorney General of the United Republic of Tanzania, a matter pending determination by this Court.

The application of the Act put Applicants’ political parties in danger of being forced to formulate party policies which are contrary to their founding ideology, belief and foundation; danger of losing members vide arbitrary suspension of membership and being denied right to participate into public affairs. Further, the application of the Act limits the rights of Tanzanians to receive information through civic education and limits the rights of the Applicants and Tanzanians in general from giving civic education without seeking permission from the Registrar of Political Parties. The consequence of proceeding to disseminate civic education without the notification, subjects them to criminal penalties of being arrested, detained, taken to court and subjected to pay a fine or imprisonment. On the other side, failure to provide the civil education, the general public will not be informed on the importance of participating in the exercise and subsequently denied the right to vote and such a loss cannot be compensated. Moreover, the Act gives the Registrar of Political Parties powers to determine who shall give civic education and the kind of civic education to be given in among others.

The Respondent in reply argues that, the requirement to inform the Registrar on the intention to provide civic education is limited to NGO’s and institutions who target to give civic education to the political parties and not the general public as alleged and such a requirement aims at ensuring transparency, accountability and protection of state security and order.

Further that, the penalties imposed to the institutions and individuals is limited to their acts or omissions in relation to the obligation to inform the Registrar when they wish to provide civic education to members of political parties and not the general public. Also, the Act does not give absolute power to the Registrar to decide on the kind of civic education as alleged but rather guides him/her when disapproving the information given to give reasons for his decision which is a manifestation of the rule of law and good governance.

It is the Respondent submission that, the Act was passed in among other things to regulate the conduct of political parties with the spirit of promoting institutionalism, intra-party democracy, political and financial accountability which are essential elements of any modern democratic state and it is compatible with principles of rule of law, good governance, democracy and human rights stipulated in the EAC Treaty, African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international instruments ratified by Tanzania.

This is a document produced by the Registry to assist in understanding forthcoming matters before the Court. It does not bind the Court. For authoritative Decisions, Judgments and general  information about the Court please visit https://www.eacj.org

Contact: Registrar, East African Court of Justice, P.O. Box 1096 Arusha, Tanzania Tel: +255 27 2506093 Fax: +255 27 27 2509493 Email: eacj@eachq.org

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