The Registrar of Political Parties, Mr John Tendwa, cautioned candidates yesterday that unaccounted expenses above 55m/- would be investigated by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).
“Our officers have however considered the fact that prices of some commodities such as fuel, food and accommodation can be very unstable at times so we ruled that in that case the expenses can increase but should not go beyond 55m/.
“We have taken into account all possible expenses that a candidate incurs in order to conduct a modest, corruption-free campaign and concluded that 50m/- is quite enough,” said Mr Tendwa while addressing journalists, adding that the figure was in line with the 2010 Election Expenses Act.
Mr Tendwa said his office, PCCB and security organs are going to be very strict during the forthcoming by-election processes in Meru District having learnt lessons from the Igunga by-election last year, where chaos and corruption marred the process.
Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) and NCCR-Mageuzi have so far confirmed their participation in the by-election.
There is, however, confusion about the participation of the Civic United Front (CUF) party, which was recently reported to have pulled out of the race. “CUF at national level announced that the party would not field a candidate, but regional officials of the party claim that they were duped into agreeing to the decision and are thus contemplating to name a candidate to run in the by-election,” said the registrar.
In another development, Mr Tendwa admitted to have heard of plans by some CCM members to appeal against the recent party primaries nomination results in Meru. “They have the right to do so and should that happen, we are going to wait for the court’s decision whether to carry on with the by-election or not,” he said.
As for the five ward seats that have been left vacant following the expulsion of CHADEMA councillors from the party, Mr Tendwa said since the matter was in court no by- elections will be held.
Meanwhile, the Arusha-Urban Member of Parliament (CHADEMA), Mr Godbless Lema has dismissed claims by Mr Tendwa that he will cause chaos in Meru in the forthcoming Arumeru-East by-election. Mr Tendwa had advised Mr Lema to apologize to Meru elders who have reportedly asked the legislator never to go to Meru district after the politician allegedly campaigned during the funeral party of the late Arumeru-East Member of Parliament, Jeremiah Sumari.
"I did not campaign at the funeral in Akeri and the claims are baseless, politically motivated and the registrar is being used to create conflict between the people of Meru and my party, knowing very well that CHADEMA will win the by-election in the area," said the MP.
Mr Lema brushed off threats by Meru elders saying that he had been going to Meru for the whole week to lay campaign strategies and he has been warmly welcomed. "Residents of Meru are tired of being bulldozed by the ruling party (CCM)” he said.