We salute the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for vowing to do its best to ensure that it conducts a credible, free and fair election that would be the pride of all Tanzanians.
It is our hope that NEC, which derives its powers and mandate from the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, will live up to its promise to help the populace make an informed choice come October 31.
As promised by NEC Chairman Judge Lewis Makame, when addressing election supervisors from all 239 constituencies last week, the electoral body is expected to be fair, transparent and orderly in conducting the election.
NEC officials must bear in mind the fact that their role in the electoral process is very crucial to the outcome of the election. Therefore we don’t expect anything short of supervising the ballot and the count in a proper manner; promoting transparency at all levels and being accountable to the public.
There must be political will on the part of the electoral body to enforce all the rules so that at the end of the day election results should not be viewed with suspicion by the electorate. This will prevent feelings by certain groups that they have been swindled and abandoned by the electoral process.
While the electoral body has duty of ensuring that it manages a free and fair election, voters, on their part, must work for peace and unity during the electoral process so that the nation is not thrown into violence.
As rightly pointed out by Judge Makame, election supervisors must not ignore any of the election regulations to avoid arousing any discontent among political parties. There will be no reason, for instance, why undisputed election results should be withheld.
At the same time, it is important for NEC to work on allegations raised by some opposition parties that the ruling party was plotting to rig the election in favour of the incumbent president.
The national electoral body must take time to respond to fears of vote rigging allegations that have surfaced lest they mar the election.
After all has been done, NEC’s most important role is to ensure that elections are conducted in conformity with the laws of the country.
During the election, observers and/or monitors, should also play their role of ensuring that rules laid down by the electoral body are followed, and that the election meets local and international standards of objectivity and fairness.