NEC advised to take protective measures against covid-19

24Apr 2020
Crispin Gerald
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
NEC advised to take protective measures against covid-19

THE National Electoral Commission (NEC) has been urged to take precaution measures against Covid-19 in the ongoing exercise of improving voter’s register.

Chairperson for Tanzania Center for Democracy (TCD) James Mbatia

Chairperson for Tanzania Center for Democracy (TCD) James Mbatia said  in interview with The Guardian that the priority should be to protect people’s safety from the pandemic.

“The government is supposed to increase public  awareness   on how best they can protect voters from COVID-19 going for   registration,” he added.

He said that NEC is currently implementing a nation-wide exercise to improve voter’s register  as well as verification    ahead of the general elections 2020. 

Mbatia said, going for elections is important for national interests, but, more efforts should be made to ensure all eligible voters were safe when going to the registration centres across the country.

Mbatia who also doubles as chairman for NCCR Mageuzi political party, said the party is also highly focusing on ensuring that Tanzanians are well protected from COVID-19 disease.

“An election is an event that happens after every five years, it is proper to concentrate in elections while neglecting the health of our people,” he said.

“We need to be very careful before and during the general elections. We should avoid hate speeches    and   chaos.    ” he emphasized.

According to him, there is a great need for the government in collaboration with political parties and other stakeholders to create awareness on disaster preparedness in order to protect voters especially the adults from Corona-19 pandemic.

  Assistant director department of voters education at NEC Dr Cosmas Mwaisoba said the Commission from April 17, this year,  had commenced the second phase of the exercise, which included improving voter’s register and verification.

He said so far the Commission has managed to register more voters than in in 2015.   Commission had registered 23.1 million eligible voters, but, in the ongoing registration exercise, in the first phase the Commission had managed to register 30.6 million eligible voters.

"In order to simplify the process, the Commission has launched an electronic registration by using mobile phones as part of   efforts to control mobility in order to curb  the spread of coronavirus pandemic."

He said the mobile registration system had proven to be the best means in the implementation of the exercise especially in this pandemic  as it helps to  control movements of people.   

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