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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Report findings on elections that put Magufuli in power

The Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation (TACCEO) launched report findings of last year’s General Elections that saw President John Magufuli take the State House.

  • The findings analyzed individual observer reports from all the constituencies.

According to the LHRC Head of the Parliament and Elections Unit, Hamisi Mkindi the report covered the full cycle of the electoral processes including registration voters, nomination of candidates, electoral bodies’ preparation for the elections, roles of election stakeholders, election campaigns, polling, counting, tallying of votes and declarations of the results as well as analysis of the canceled Zanzibar elections.
In general, the findings indicate good preparation for the elections by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) with particular focus on availability of election equipment before the Election Day, despite sporadic delays to supply the same.
The report highlights low campaign funding in the case of some opposition parties with some failing even to make campaign rallies in more than two regions. On the other side, the survey notes that some parties began their campaigns at least a week before the due day.
“It is also an issue of concern that the authorities failed to control election corruptions and massive use of financial resources which overtly seem to have exceeded the limits set under the election expenses law,” he pointed out.
Besides that, incidences of violations were reported to have marred the campaigns but were relatively fewer compared with previous elections.
However, despite the popularity and tight competition of the elections that saw the opposition mount the strongest challenge yet, the polling, counting, tallying of votes and declaration of the result was peaceful with only few isolated incidents of commotion surrounding delays in release of results in some constituencies.
NEC decision of disallowing the observers to enter into the NEC tallying centre at Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre raised doubts on credibility of the presidential results, the survey underlines.
The report cites the need to revamp current institutional and legal framework for election management in Tanzania in order to make the electoral and democratic processes more transparent, free and fair.
General recommendations
To government: There is an urgent need to initiate or continue with legal and institutional reforms on the mandate and independency of NEC and ZEC. The government should ensure that NEC and ZEC are given sufficient and permanent budgets for them to have sustainable management of their plans especially to have continuous voter’s updates and education.
The government should implement the decision of the African Court on human and people rights on amending the law to accommodate the right to private candidacy.
Government should also ensure public resources are not used to facilitate campaigns of any political parties.
Electoral commissions
NEC and ZEC should formulate and implement a permanent national voter’s education strategic plan including a national curriculum on the same.
Offering voter’s education should be sustainable and provided within the four years period between elections.
There is the need to have parallel tabulation or tallying system (preferably done by independent and credible civil societies) to give unofficial result to mitigate concern of vote rigging or skimming as opposition claimed for the presidential elections in 2015.
Register of political parties
The register should intensify enforcement of the election expenses law by adopting pro active measures including the deployment of investigation teams throughout the country at least during the elections period.
The register should also request the government to have public funding for small political parties in order to widen democratization in Tanzania.
Security Agencies
Elections should be guarded by civil law enforcers only. Therefore deployment of the military should not happen in future elections as well as law enforcers should be made aware of electoral laws in order to make them conversant with the provisions of the law so they can enforce the same in more appropriate ways.
Political parties
The political parties are main players of the electoral process and all of them should enhance transparency of their affairs and involvement of members and general public in their decision making process.
The political parties’ manifesto of most of the parties seemed to have been formulated by few elite in Dar es Salaam with little or without any consultation with targeted communities.
The number of women represented in the parties is still relatively low and the parties need to widen the internal political space for women to contest.
Worth noting is the fact that, the 2015 experience showed that, at least 90 percent of women at parliamentary candidacy, who were entrusted by the parties to contest, actually won elections. This included those from areas which prefer patriarchal model of livelihood, the report cites.
Others elections stakeholders
There is need for more recognition of the many other stakeholder whose activities have direct impact to the outcomes of the electoral processes including civil society organizations, media, election observers, development partners and general public.
Media should demonstrate highest levels of professionalism and impartiality in their coverage of elections by portioning equal air times and space for parties and candidates to explain their manifestos.
The international observers should find a way to collaborate with the local observers in order to compliment efforts of each side.
General public
As for the general public who are voters and whom the electoral process is intended to benefit is recommended to be actively engaged in the advocacy initiatives to demand for the law and constitutional reforms (new Constitution).


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