INEC, CSOs set out voter register update

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 06:00 AM Jun 11 2024
Ballot box
Photo: File
Ballot box

STAKEHOLDERS from various civil society organisations (CSOs) have urged the government to amend laws to allow Tanzanians in the Diaspora and refugees to vote in local government elections as well as parliamentary and presidential polls.

This appeal was given at the newly fangled Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a range of key CSOs, with participants holding the view that the move will raise the number of voters, while strengthening stability.

Brenda Kifanga, a leader of ‘Dignity Kwanza’ organisation said that it is hard for refugees to be accessed for civic education.

This prevents them from joining in election processes, she stated, affirming the need to amend legislation to enable these groups to take part in the democratic process, thus stimulating development.

Many refugees and those in the Diaspora are denied their right to vote because during elections they are stranded as there is no voting facilitation, not able to vote where they are or where they come from.

Suriama Hassani, an activist with a city voter education entity, Tosucado registered in October 2020, emphasised increased public awareness on the importance of voting.

This is vital as it helps the nation to get competent leaders, she said, stressing the need to invest efforts to change the mindsets of people towards elections “as many have lost hope, saying that there is no need to vote.”

Ramadhani Msele, an activist with the Persons with Disabilities Foundation (PDF) expressed appreciation for INEC efforts in organising the meeting for detailed discussion on electoral processes.

INEC chairman Judge Jacobs Mwambegele opened the meeting, setting out an official update process for the permanent voter register, set to be launched on July 1 in Kigoma, in view of the 2025 general election.

Biometric voter registration (BVR) kits for updating the register had been secured as it was in the last general election, he said, stating that the BVR kits are portable and will be easily distributed for use in rural areas for updating the register,” he said. 

During the updating exercise, the commission will ensure that people with disabilities, elders, patients and expectant mothers are well served, he added.