Independent candidates have been excluded from the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Tanzania following an appeal court ruling upholding the constitutional obligation for all contestants to be members of fully registered political parties.

The verdict overturned two earlier rulings by the high court that an article of the constitution that bans non-party members from running in presidential, parliamentary or civic elections is unconstitutional, paving the way for the participation of independents in elections. Responding to an appeal filed by the state, the judges said the issue can be resolved only by parliament, which alone has the prerogative to change the constitution. However, they pointed both the attorney general and lawmakers to a recommendation by the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the requirement of political party membership should not limit unreasonably an individual