NEC: 7 million people registered to vote

24Mar 2020
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
NEC: 7 million people registered to vote

SEVEN million new voters have been registered in the first phase of updating the electronic voter register, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

NEC chairman Judge (rtd) Semistocles Kaijage.

The number of new voters is equivalent to 30.41per cent of all eligible voters registered to practice their constitutional right in the 2015 general elections.

During his meeting with election stakeholders in Dar es Salaam yesterday, NEC chairman Judge (rtd) Semistocles Kaijage said phase one of the electronic voter register upgrading which commenced in July, last year and ended in January, this year covered only three regions—Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Dar es Salaam.

“We have surpassed our target to register 13.41 per cent new voters by registering 7,043,247 people. This increased the total number of registered voters in the country to 30,187,987”, said Judge Kaijage adding the second phase upgrading of the voter register was scheduled for March 26th this year but it has been postponed to April 17th due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

The chairman explained that during the exercise 3,225,778 people turned out to verify their information equivalent to 13.93 per cent of the 23,161,440 voters who were registered in 2015.

“The number of voters may change upon completion of the second phase of the verification exercise”, he stated.

Judge Kaijage said during the exercise 16,707 voters were removed from the permanent voter register due to various reasons including lack of qualifications as eligible voters and some who were reported dead.

He said the commission encountered various challenges during the exercise including difficulties to reach some of the places due to damaged infrastructures caused by ongoing rains and low turnout especially in in Dar es Salaam because on most of the days people were at work.

Meanwhile, Chadema director of elections, Reginald Munisi queried whether NEC would provide parties and stakeholders with a copy of the provisional voters register.

Responding Judge Kaijage insisted the law only allows NEC to hand stakeholders complete voters register and not the provisional one.

The Registrar for Political Parties, Judge Francis Mutungi hailed the electoral body for the job well done, saying sensitisation campaign should continue so that the many people register to vote in the coming elections.

The meeting brought together all elections stakeholders including political parties as well as representatives from the ministry of health who took time to educate participants on various measures to prevent from being infected with COVID-19.

Tanzania is expected to go for general elections later this year where voters will elect the president, Members of Parliament and Ward Councilors.