EU sends election observers to TZ ahead of general election

Head of EU Elections Observation Team in Tanzania, Judith Sargentini

Head of EU Elections Observation Team in Tanzania, Judith Sargentini

The European Union through its Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has dispatched 34 long term election observers to Tanzania to monitor the country’s general election slated for October 25.

The mission will be joining the EU EOM’s Core Team of election analysts who arrived in Tanzania on 11 September. The team will be led by Judith Sargentini, a Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands who will arrive this Sunday, a media communique said Thursday.

According to a statement, after a two-day briefing in Dar es Salaam on all aspects of the electoral process, the Long-Term Observers will be deployed in teams of two across Tanzania. Their task over the next six weeks is to observe election preparations, including the election campaigns and the work of the election administration. They will also observe voting, counting, the tabulation of results, as well as the handling of possible election-related complaints and appeals.

“The work of the Long-Term Observers will allow the EU EOM to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process across the whole country – before, during and after Election Day,” said EU Chief Observer, Judith Sargentini.

“Our observers will meet with election officials, candidates and representatives of civil society, and will report their observations back to the Core Team in Dar es Salaam, so that an informed and impartial assessment of the election is made.” she stated.

The EU EOM to Tanzania was deployed following an invitation by the Tanzanian government, the National Electoral Commission and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission.

The mandate of the mission is to observe all aspects of the electoral process and to assess the extent to which the elections comply with international and regional standards for democratic elections. The EU EOM will work independently of EU institutions and EU member states.

All observers adhere to a Code of Conduct that requires strict neutrality in the course of their work. The EU EOM operates in accordance with the ‘Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation’, adopted at the United Nations in 2005 by a number of international bodies involved in election observation.

At full strength, the EU Election Observation Mission to Tanzania will comprise around 140 observers. In addition to the Core Team and the Long-Term Observers, the EU EOM will be joined closer to Election Day by 60 Short-Term Observers, a Delegation of Members of the European Parliament, and Locally-Recruited Short-Term Observers from the EU Delegation, as well as embassies of EU member states, Norway, Switzerland and Canada in Dar es Salaam.

Shortly after Election Day, the EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement of its initial findings. A more comprehensive final report, including recommendations for future elections, will be published usually within two months of the end of the electoral process.

The EU EOM to Tanzania follows a European Union Election Expert Mission that was deployed to Tanzania between May and July 2015 to assess the voter registration process.

Tanzanians are due to head to the polls on October 25 to elect their next president, legislators and local leaders. Campaigns are currently underway.