Tanzania: Police Beef Up Security During Polls - IGP

AS Tanzanians go to the polls on October 28, 2020 the Police Force has assured the public of safety and security during the voting, counting and announcing of results and called upon all eligible voters to show up in large numbers without fear.

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro also issued a strong warning to any individual or a group of people, who will attempt to cause chaos that the Force will not compromise on that.

"The Police Force would like to let everyone across the country to understand that it will not hesitate to take stern measures against anyone who will indulge in any acts that causes violence or violates the law. "They should all be reminded of their roles in the voting process, counting and announcing results. The responsibility of voters is to go to the polling stations to vote and return home and go about their activities, as there are agents appointed by political parties to represent them and the interests of the candidates," he pointed out.

The IGP further said police will be responsible for maintaining peace and security while the National Electoral Commission (NEC) will be responsible for overseeing all election activities.

Equally, he reminded election stakeholders to act according to set guidelines and values while executing their duties to avoid violence as the police will be ready to enforce all laws on the conduct of elections.

Reinstating, the IGP as well warned voters to go home after casting their ballots instead of hanging around polling stations, adding: "Election Act asks voters to remain at least 200 metres away from the polling station after casting their votes."

However, the police have deployed a large number of armed police officers in most parts of the country and near the polling centres countrywide.

Others have been seen patrolling different parts of the country.

The police force calls on all citizens and stakeholders from the family level to continue educating each other on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the country as it is the most important thing in human life.

"Each of us must obey the rules, regulations and procedures to avoid being subjected to any form of violence and to avoid being a source of violence during the election," said IGP Sirro.

He asked NEC, candidates and other stakeholders to stick to their duties to prevent people from getting into acts, which might deteriorate to breach of peace.

Speaking on clashes reported in Pemba as early voting began in Zanzibar on October 27, 2020; IGP Sirro said at least 42 people were being held by police in Zanzibar over allegations of attacking police officers who were distributing ballot boxes.

He said that some Pemba residents on 26 October 2020 night in Pemba stoned the vehicles carrying ballot boxes.

"No deaths have been reported. However, if residents continued to throw stones or using any other weapons, anything could happen," he noted.

Following the 2015-16 political crisis in Zanzibar, the government passed legislation allowing the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) to stage early voting in national elections, a day ahead of the mainland, for security forces and government services to be available for public voting on polling day.

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