Speaking in a virtual meeting with leaders of religious organisations, traditional elders and top officials of non-governmental organisations at the weekend, the director of elections Dr Wilson Mahera asserted that victors in next week’s polls will be declared without regard to their political parties.
This will apply across the board for all positions up for grabs, be it for the Union president, the president of Zanzibar, members of Parliament, members of the Zanzibar House of Representative or ward councilors.
Asked about worries of outright rigging or tampering with results to favour some candidates, he remarked, ‘no way.’
“All participating political parties will have their agents at all polling stations during casting, counting and announcement of results. With this kind of transparent arrangement there will be no room to change the outcome,” he asserted.
Dr Mahera cautioned political parties, candidates and their supporters to take note that losing an election is one of the results that everybody must be prepared to accept.
“The problem I see here is that there are some candidates who enter the race believing that they have already won. So, when results come out negative, they cry foul.”
Last month, Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu was barred from campaigning for seven days by the NEC Ethics Committee for claims made in a campaign meeting that the CCM presidential candidate and incumbent had summoned returning officers to Dodoma for a secret meeting “where rigging plans were discussed.”
Bishop Jasson Kahembe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) told the virtual conference participants - dubbed ‘peace meeting’ – that Tanzanians must know that there is life to live after elections, hence there is no need to beat war drums.
Apart from doing everything possible to maintain peace, all must also be done to serve justice, he stated.
“The Bible says (Proverbs 14:34) ‘righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people,’” he said in citation.
Twariqa Islamic Foundation coordinated the meeting, where its representative Sheikh Haruna Hussein urged religious leaders to refrain from campaigning for some candidates or taking partisan positions as they are supposed to be neutral and seek justice for all.
“As religious leaders we are not supposed to attend political rallies and drum up support for candidates as some are doing. This is wrong,” he emphasised.