PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has appealed to Tanzanians to turn out in large numbers to update their information in the permanent voter register. The PM made the appeal yesterday during the launch of the first phase of updating of the register.
The PM insisted that no one would be left behind in the exercise, adding that priority would be given to Tanzanians with special needs. “After all the work done by the electoral council I can confidently say that no one will be left behind in updating their information in the voter register,” explained the PM while launching the first phase register at Nelson Mandela grounds.
Mr Majaliwa stressed the importance of the exercise, saying the National Electoral Council (NEC) would bar those found without ID cards during the next General Election. “I urge you to prioritise the disabled, pregnant women and the aged,” he appealed to NEC officials.
The PM issued stern warning against individuals planning to register more than once, saying they would be dealt with by law enforcers. Mr Majaliwa also commended NEC for adding new polling registration centres, a move he said would reduce congestion during the electoral process, which would be conducted in the whole country.
Prime Minister urged NEC officials to show professionalism throughout the exercise. “In all that you do, you should strive after working professionally, which entails using polite language to voters,” he added.
NEC Chairman Judge Semistocles Kaijage expressed his gratitude to the government for supporting his office to update the permanent voter register. According to Judge Kaijage, the government’s support is crucial for addressing challenges could have otherwise hindered voter registration.
“It is our hope that the government will continue supporting NEC to make next year’s General Election successful,” said the NEC chairman. Judge Kaijage noted that the verification of the voter register, which started in 2017, sought to establish whether registration centres were still active for 2020 elections or not.
He informed the Premier that his office had increased the centres from 36,549 to 37,407 in Mainland Tanzania, while in the Isles, they had risen from 380 to 407.
Judge Kaijage said he was optimistic about the increase in the number of the centres, saying the move would contribute to the success of the updating process and in the next year’s General Election.
According to Judge Kaijage, the updating of the voter register is expected to start from Kilimanjaro Region and will be completed in Dar es Salaam Region on March 5, 2020.
Through the countrywide exercise, NEC is set to update its voter registration list and include more than 4 million new voters this year. The process entails improving the registration system.
Updating of the voter register also seeks to expunge names of people who have died and those, who are no longer eligible for voting due to various reasons.
Section 15(5) of the National Elections Act (Cap 343) requires NEC to review the Permanent National Voter Register twice between a period commencing immediately after the General Election and the date preceding the nomination day for the next General Election.