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Media Council of Tanzania Website
All political parties which have presidential aspirants for the October 25, 2015 General Election have been asked to confirm in writing their participation in the planned national debates for presidential contenders by Thursday September 24, 2015.
The debate, according to the chairperson of the of the preparatory committee of the debate to be televised and broadcast live on national and community radio, Kajubi Mukajanga was planned to be held in the middle of this month and next month before election day.
Mukajanga who is also the Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), said so far only three parties – CHAUMA , TLP and ACT Wazalendo have presented their confirmation in writing.
Letters of confirmation from TLP and CHAUMA were received much earlier and that of the ACT Wazalendo was received on Monday 21, 2015.
The MCT Secretariat which is coordinating the event had sent letters to the eight parties with presidential aspirants over a month ago and has been following the matter with senior leaders of the parties by meeting them and even through phone calls.
Mukajanga flanked by CEO of Mwananchi Communications Limited Francis Nanai and the Director of CEO Roundtable, Santina Benson at a news conference held at MCT offices on September 22, 2015 , named the other parties with presidential aspirants as Chadema, CCM, UPDP, ADC and NRA.
He said the debate was intended to reach nearly 25 million viewers, listeners and readers and its aim was to afford opportunity to voters to hear directly from the presidential candidates on their goals and what they would do for the country.
That, he said, would provide a wide picture on the candidates and facilitate voters to make informed decisions on who is the right person to lead the country.
Mukajanga said the committee is dismayed that some of the parties which have been invited to participate in the debate had resolved to accept the invitation by making statements at political rallies and through the media instead of responding by writing to the committee to express their readiness.
He said organizing the debate would involve hefty costs and that sponsors need to be assured on the participation of the presidential aspirants before committing to support the debate.
Responding to questions by reporters, Mukajanga said that for the debate to be seen as serious, all major players in the forthcoming election should participate in the debate.
Without naming names of the presidential candidate, he expressed worries that the organizers of the debate may not be taken as serious, if the main contenders would not take part.
“We all know that this election is very close and people would want to hear from the “serious contenders” despite the fact that before the National Electoral Commission (NEC) all contenders are equal. There are some viewed by the public as crucial, he added
Reacting to another question on whether party leaders should participate in the debate instead of the presidential aspirants, the CEO of Mwananchi Communication, Nanai referred to the practice elsewhere in the world, that it is only the aspirants who take part in such debates.
He said party leaders as some quarters where suggesting to face off in the debate are not the candidates for the election whom voters would like to hear from.
Such leaders, Nanai said have other forums like campaign rallies where they can speak.
Other institutions which have teamed-up in the preparations for the Presidential Debate are the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Internews, Azam TV, ITV/Radio One, School of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF) and The Guardian Newspapers.
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