Tanzania: NEC Trashes Claims of Fake Polling Stations

THE National Electoral Commission has ruled out allegations of fake polling stations and voters during this week's planned General Election, maintaining that there will only be 80,155 polling stations and 29,188,347 voters.

It also said it will provide accreditation to agents of political parties on Tuesday, only a day before the voting day, which already President John Magufuli declared to be a public holiday.

Report surfaced on local and international media last week quoting opposition parties, alleging the existence of planned million fake voters and polling stations across the country.

The oppositions had also claimed that their agents had not been given accreditations despite being sworn-in.

Dr Wilson Charles, NEC's Director of Elections told reporters here yesterday such remarks were meant to tarnish efforts by the commission as well as the government to organise an independent, free, transparent and fair election Dr Charles detailed that the commission spent around 157bn/- in updating the credible permanent voters register and additional 331bn/- in planning and preparing the crucial general election.

"Until now we have spent over 276bn/- preparing this election ... the public should not be worried over statements issued by politicians on social media and online platforms," he stressed.

Preparations for the general election planned this Wednesday have been completed, according to the director.

He said procurement and distribution of essential materials needed during the Election Day would be supplied to all 264 plus 50 constituencies on Sunday.

"All the process has been smooth. We started the registration process opening some 37,814 stations in both Tanzania Mainland and Tanzania Zanzibar.

This is the exact number of stations that will be turned into polling stations," he explained.

The number of polling stations appears to be high since the commission decided to ensure each polling station to have between 450 and 500 voters.

"It means one registration centre can have four or five polling stations... Those claiming we have millions and fake voters should explain candidly where such stations come from," he explained.

He warned political parties turning electoral commission as opposition statements might disturb the peace and send their illintentioned message to the international community.

"This is all propaganda may create chaos in the country and outside," he emphasized.

The director painstakingly explained that the commission had handled all the needed documents to all political parties including polling stations and voters but, unfortunately the opposition had opted to create a crisis by supplying fake information.

He agreed that there could be challenges in the permanent voters register such as spelling mistakes and a mix-up in birth years but insisted that all those with official registration cards will be allowed to vote.

The commission opened the window for the general public to update their information, an exercise which was meant to help also remove unqualified voters such as the dead but also allow those who had changed their residences to exercise their constitutional right.

"But I tell you some people didn't bother updating or checking information on permanent voters' register," he noted.

Speaking on political party agents, the director explained that it was impossible for election returning officers to swear-in 4,000 agents and supply accreditation documents on the day.

He said it was resolved therefore that such documents would be supplied to the agents, the political parties and election returning officers on every polling station, detailing the name and picture of each agent who will be allowed to enter at the counting table.

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