The government has admitted shortfalls in the permanent voters’ register, promising to make necessary changes to ensure that many people get registered so that they could participate in different elections.
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda made the admission in the House yesterday in Dodoma when responding to direct questions from Members of Parliament.
He was reacting to a question posed by Leader of the Opposition Camp in Parliament Freeman Mbowe, who had sought clarification regarding people with voting cards, but their names miss in the voter register.
According to Mbowe, the country’s constitution gives the right to vote to people who have reached 18 years of age, but some have failed to exercise their democratic rights in Arumeru, Igunga and Uzini by-elections simply because their names were not listed. “There is a big number of voters out there, whose names are not listed on the voters’ register. If we continue to depend on the registry, there is a risk that many eligible voters will not exercise their democratic right,” stressed Mbowe.
Responding, Pinda said the issue was of great concern. “We have also been notified of the matter. We got the issue from other sources. We are trying to seek ways of improving it…We must compromise to bring in all those are eligible to vote, but who have not been given the opportunity to register in the permanent voters’ register,” said Pinda.
In a supplementary question, Mbowe had wanted the government to declare in the House that eligible voters would be allowed to cast their ballots even if their names didn’t appear in the register.
However, Pinda avoided the question, stating: “What I can promise you is that, we shall do our best to make it work in the shortest period of time. We are working closely with the National Electoral Commission”.