25 May 2013

Tanzania: Optimism Surrounds Voters' Registration in Isles

Zanzibar — POLITICIANS in the islands say transparency and developing a credible voter register is one sure way of enhancing the integrity of all future elections.

At a familiarisation meeting with the "new Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC)," stakeholders including politicians raised their voice to demand for reliable Permanent Voters Register (PVR) before the 2015 general elections.

"Tanzanians need to see peace, stability and transparency in all future elections. This should start by making sure that all Zanzibaris register and ZEC members are honest," politicians from CUF, SAU and TADEA political parties said at a meeting held at Bwawani Hotel.

They emphasised that ZEC should work closely with the Zanzibaris Identification registration (ZanID) Office to remove bureaucracy so that youths get the Ids for easy voters' registration.

The new ZEC team include: Mr Jecha Salim Jecha (chairman) and the commissioners are Mr Haji Ramadhani Haji (SAU), Ambassador Omar Ramadhani Mapuri (CCM), Mr Salmin Senga Salmin (CCM), Mr Nassor Khamis Mohammed (CUF), Mr Ayoub Bakar Hamad (CUF) and Judge Abdulhakim Ameir Issa of the Zanzibar High Court.

"We need your advice and workable suggestions so that we can move on well in running elections. We are not going to allow any external interference aiming at derailing us from being honest and transparent," Jecha promised.

He said that the updating of the PVR is planned to start in July, this year, the first time since the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in November 2010. ZEC failed to update the voters register due to shortage of funds.

Fortunately, the UNDP has accepted to provide funds for the updating of the register, which includes registering of youths who attained the age of 18 yrs, and deleting the deceased, "and we may review constituency boundaries."

However CUF cautioned ZEC not to be led by the 2012 National Population Census when reviewing constituency boundaries, "because many people shunned the census in many areas of Zanzibar!"

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