THE directive issued on Monday by the Office of Registrar of Political Parties that all political parties should stop conducting political forums pending a stakeholders’ meeting with law enforcers is creditable.
Judge Francis Mutungi, the Registrar, is up for common understanding between political parties and the law enforcers for healthy democracy and peaceful political activities.
The directive comes as a remedy for what Judge Mutungi terms a ‘war of words’ between the police force and the political parties, especially the opposition.
Nevertheless, he reminded politicians over President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s pledge to meet them, and undoubtedly, that would be another opportunity for them to speak out on their grievances.
Having been tasked with the roles of regulating, monitoring and supervising political parties to ensure compliance with the Political Parties Act, facilitating dialogues and seeking consensus is at the core of the registrar’s activities.
Justice Mutungi made it clear that he had already spoken with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro, who would lead a delegation of police top officers in the meeting with leaders of political parties.
On the other hand, the registrar assured the public and the world at large that the political situation in the country is calm and has not reached a point of being termed political tension.
Indisputably, political parties are essential mainstays of democracy --either in young or post-conflict democracies in specific, they have imperative responsibilities of undertaking reforms that promote democracy and development but all must be conducted in a sustainable, civilised and nonviolent manner.
We understand that dialogue is often the only sustainable way to address head-on the underlying structural and socio-political stalemates for political reform.
At the end of the planned meeting, we expect that both sides will come out with good direction and answers for the best interest of the country.
In polarized societies that believe in peaceful co-existence and unity in diversity, political party dialogue is the best path to realize wide-ranging solutions to institutional weaknesses, or politics of identity, religion and region.
Needless to say, efficient dialogue among members and their parties is paramount to fulfilling their functions --of being a bridge between government and society, both in the ways they translate society’s demands into political ideas and programmes, and in the way they hold the government to account on society’s behalf.
Political parties are crucial for long-term political development in emerging democracies and form a fundamental institution in a healthy democracy.
This means that without well-functioning parties, governments and legislatures have little chance of representing wider society in a meaningful way.
However, while fulfilling their constitutional roles, all political parties are duty bound to respect the country’s laws and abide by all lawful directives issued by the government and other relevant authorities.