Election observers monitoring the voter registration process have stopped their operations after two observers were allegedly attacked by police in Njombe region.
Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation (Tacceo) chairperson Martina Kabisama says the incident happened on Saturday in the south-western region.
“[Police] accused them of stealing laptops. Our observers tried to explain themselves but they were severely beaten by four armed policemen,” says Kabisama.
Kabisama says police found nothing suspicious after inspecting the guest house in which six observers were staying.
“They just apologized and left without taking the two observers to hospital.”
The injured observers, who were sent to monitor the electronic Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), have been identified as Humphrey Josiah and Wilson Raphael.
National Electoral Commission chairman Damian Lubuva, who was in Njombe at the time, says he is unaware of the ‘unfortunate’ incident.
Njombe police say the matter is under investigation.
Tacceo coordinator Helen Kijo-Bisimba says their observers are being withdrawn until safety can be guaranteed.
“Monitoring is a crucial task but our lives are of paramount importance,” says Kijo-Bisimba.
“We are not giving up, but we want a free and secured environment for all. If we, the advocates of human rights are still suffering from police brutality, then what is to become of ordinary Tanzanians?”