Tanzania: Mhagama Tells NEC to Adhere to Norms

THE government has directed the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to take all the necessary and appropriate measures in implementing President John Magufuli's directives to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

The Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Jenista Mhagama told the commission to observe and adhere to all fundamental principles outlined in the State's electoral laws in order to achieve the goal.

Ms Mhagama said yesterday that the government was providing the commission with all the necessary support in the preparations for the October general elections.

"Our role as the government is to ensure that you receive all support for preparations ahead of the elections," she said, noting that it had provided money to the commission to facilitate the updating of the voters register, the first of whose process ended last month and second phase of which was set to start this month.

The minister made the remarks while handing over 12 out of 20 purchased vehicles to facilitate the commission in the preparations for the awaited elections.

She said the government was highly committed to ensure the commission didn't fail in the course of implementing the electoral law requirements.

"The National Election Act and the State's constitution outline the central roles of the commission, including overseeing the by elections and general elections in the country," she said, stressing the need for the commission to ensure that the coming elections are held in a transparent manner and in accordance with the law.

She reminded the commission that the electoral laws also barred politicians, political parties and public leaders from interfering with the electoral process, reiterating the need for the commission to keenly stick to electoral laws to achieve credible elections.

According to Ms Mhagama, the government would not interfere, but rather monitor all the processes and providing all the necessary support needed by the commission to undertake their roles.

"As the government, we are observing and monitoring without interfering," she said, adding that the commission had since involved various stakeholders, including political parties, in the preparations of the electoral processes.

On other hand, the minister said that the commission had been doing credible work that had even attracted other countries, such as Malawi, since the introduction of multi-party elections in the country.

"Since the introduction of the multiparty system in 1992 then came the establishment of the commission in 1993; we have been experiencing credible elections through the commission and our hope is to see the commission maintain the trend."

She pointed out that reports by international election observers and others indicated that the commission conducted the election in accordance with the electoral laws.

Commenting on the 12 vehicles she handed over to the commission, Ms Mhagama said President Magufuli was committed to ensure free, fair and transparent general elections by ensuring NEC received all the facilities required, including vehicles, to facilitate the implementation of the electoral process.

She said the government had set aside funds and had since provided 100 per cent of the funds to the commission to carry out electoral activities, including updating of the voter registration and purchase of other required facilities in the first phase.

NEC Director Dr Wilson Mahera said the commission had completed various preparations of the electoral process, including the first phase of voter registration that kicked off in July last year. The second phase is scheduled for this month.

Dr Mahera said that the commission had 144bn/- in 2019/2020 financial year meant to facilitate preparations of the process.

"We are in the process of purchasing various facilities required, including vehicles that will facilitate our movements during the second phase of voter registration update," he said, adding that commission has purchased 20 vehicles worth 4.7bn/-.

When addressing diplomats at a party to welcome the 2020 New Year at the State House in the Dar es Salaam, President Magufuli assured the diplomats of peaceful, free and fair general elections come October 2020.

President Magufuli said international observers will be welcomed to witness how Tanzania was maturing democratically.

"As you are all aware, our country will hold general elections later this year. I want to assure you that the government is well prepared to ensure that the elections will be free and fair," said President Magufuli.

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