TZ gov’t adamant October poll wont be moved


ELECTIONS ON SCHEDULE: Minister Jenister Mhagama


Dodoma-Tanzania’s general election scheduled for October this year will be held as planned, Jenister Mhagama, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs told parliament Saturday

The minister was presenting the Prime Minister’s Office Budget estimates for 2015/16, she assured Tanzanians the poll will go on as scheduled.

She said the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in collaboration with the government has so far procured and distributed 4850 Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) kits to update the voters register countrywide.

At least 3150 more BVR kits are expected to arrive later this month for the purpose, she revealed. “This means NEC will have 8,000 kits in-hand ready for listing eligible Tanzanians on the voters’ register.”

Mhagama, also Member of Parliament for Peramiho demonstrated how the availability of the kits that will be distributed across the country would help expedite the voter registration process.

“If one BVR lists 100 people a day, it’s equivalent to 800,000 people a day and 24 million a month. Even then, when NEC releases 7000 kits and spends 25 days it means about 17 million Tanzanians can be registered” the minister illustrated

She dismissed complaints by opposition parliamentarians that the election commission is not doing its job as far as voter registration is concerned. Mhagama said registration drive for eligible voters was progressing very well.

The exercise is expected to cost more than Tsh218 billion, according to the minister and has been successfully completed in Njombe and rolled-out to other upcountry regions Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma.

The minister told the August house that eight regions; Dodoma, Mbeya, Katavi, Singida, Rukwa, Tabora, Kigoma and Kagera are set to start registering voters this month.

Opposition MPs have raised concerns that NEC had not done enough to educate the public on the entire registration process.

The MPs say while NEC had appealed for 10400 BVR kits, the government had agreed to release only 8000 kits.

President Jakaya Kikwete is leaving office later this year, but the ruling party Chama Chamapenduzi (CCM) has not yet nominated its flag bearer in the forthcoming election. Former Prime Minister Edward Loswata is one of the names being floated around as possible Kikwete successor.

Formal campaigning has not yet started although political parties are busy laying the ground work.