LOCAL Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been told to set up a clear demarcation between their core functions and participation in political activities if they want to maintain their reputation, or risk losing credibility in the society, the government and donors.
The Coordinator of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) Onesimo Ngurumwa said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the habit of some CSOs or their leaders to engage actively in politics was an impediment to realising their objectives, as they were confusing citizens and regulatory bodies.
“Civic education on the forthcoming elections is one of the CSOs basic activities, but involvement in politics or forging partnership with political parties creates confusion amongst the public as they fail to understand if we are speaking as politicians or CSOs,” Ole Ngurumwa said as he launched the code of conduct for human rights defenders during election and democratic processes in Tanzania.
He said more than 14 organisations were denied permission to offer civic education, among the 18 which applied for such permission from the President’s Office responsible for Regional and Local Governments.
“If you are a CSO leader and wish to vie for a certain post in the coming elections, just put aside your leadership position so that you don’t confuse your people with your political ideologies. I am a long time follower of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), but my membership card and the party uniforms are kept in my shelf; for I have decided to put my political ideology aside and work for CSO; similarly, we should all follow this path to put clear the line,” he counselled.
Ngurumwa further explained that the CSO sector had helped to nurture a number of prominent politicians and members of parliament but they had shown a good path by putting aside their leadership roles in their organisation and dealing with politics alone.
He Said: “A person like CCM’s Secretary of Ideology and 1035530001Publicity, ( Humphrey Polepole) was a prominent activist and leader in CSOs but he relinquished his posts and affiliation soon after he went into politics; let us all emulate these kinds of leaders.”