Elections: ‘nothing will change the date’

Headlines proclaim the start of voter registration. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Headlines in February proclaim the start of voter registration. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

The Prime Minister’s office says the general election will be held on schedule at the end of October, as the Civic United Front (CUF) opposition party continues to express concerns over ongoing voter registration practices.

CUF national chairman Ibrahim Lipumba says they have witnessed irregularities in several southern regions that require urgent consideration and asked the government to direct more powers and focus on the voter registration exercise.

Lipumba says not enough advertising is being done and people are surprised to hear that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) is coming to register voters.

And when the people do come, the biometric voter registration (BVR) machines are taken away despite long queues still waiting to register, he says.

“For instance in Namtumbo district in Ruvuma region people failed to register after the listing time expired and machines were moved to other wards,” says Lipumba.

Lipumba criticized the method of distributing BVR machines.

“The general election will be held as planned, nothing will change the date.”

“Majimaji Ward in Tunduru district in Ruvuma, which has 8,000 voters, was given one kit and Magomeni centre in the same area, which has 100 voters, was given two kits whereby they finished registering in just two days and the machines were left idle.”

Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs minister Jenista Mhagama says that they have received 60 percent of the required BVR kits and are still waiting on the remaining 3,000 machines.

“There are some rumours circulating that there was a possibility of calling [the election] off. Ignore such information, we are prepared for the exercise. The general election will be held as planned, nothing will change the date,” says Mhagama, saying that it will take one month to complete voter registration.

The constitutional referendum, which was set for April 30, has been postponed indefinitely.

Tanzania has attempted to borrow more BVR kits from both Nigeria and Kenya, however both countries declined.

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