Tanzania: NEC Rules Out Extension of Voter Registration Deadline

NATIONAL Electoral Commission (NEC) has implored wananchi to exhaustively use the period to update their details, ruling out any extension of the time already allocated.

Instead, the electoral body, which is responsible for registration of the union presidential and parliamentary elections as well as supervision of the voting, called on Tanzanians to capitalise on the allocated days for every region across the country.

NEC Information and Voter Education Director Giveness Aswile said her office will not give in to demands by some people to have extension of the period for verification of personal details in the permanent voters' register, describing the allocated time to every region as sufficient.

Ms Aswile, who was speaking at a meeting with NEC's stakeholders in the region yesterday, maintained that the verification will be conducted within the commission's time frame.

"In Manyara region for instance, the exercise will start on July 30 and end on August 6, 2019, without any further extension," she stated.

NEC has allocated seven days to every region for potential voters to update and verify their details ahead of next year's general election.

The NEC officer expressed concern over the last minute-rush by some Tanzanians to register for the crucial exercise.

"We would normally witness long queues because some of us turn up at the eleventh hour," she observed. NEC Vice-Chairman and Court of Appeal Justice Mbarouk Salim Mbarouk said the commission had verified all the registration points prior to embarking on the real process of updating the voters' register.

According to Justice Mbarouk, the commission had increased the number of registering points in the region from 987 to 1,006 to meet the rising demand.

He maintained that the process will not involve voters who registered in the 2015 register. Through the countrywide exercise, NEC is set to update its voters' database, with over four million new voters expected in the register, this year.

The process that commenced in August 2018 aims at improving the registration system.

Updating of the voters' register also seeks to expunge names of people who have died and those whose voting rights had been suspended due to various reasons.

Section 15(5) of the National Elections Act (Cap 343) requires the electoral commission to review the Permanent National Voters' Register twice-immediately after the general election and the date preceding the nomination day for the next election.

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