NEC urges returning officers to adhere to laws during by-election

TANZANIA: THE National Electoral Commission (NEC) has urged returning officers at ward and constituency levels to comply with and adhere to the law in carrying out their duties, so as to avoid complaints during the by-election for councilors in 23 wards.

This was said by NEC member, Judge of the High Court Justice Asina Omari, on behalf of the NEC Chairperson, while opening a training for election officials at the constituency and ward levels.

The by-elections for vacant councilor positions in 23 wards in mainland Tanzania is expected to be conducted by March 20 this year.

She stated that, elections are a process that involves various legal actions and procedures that must be followed and adhered to, for that are the foundation of a good and efficient election.

Justice Omari advised election supervisors to follow and adhere to the instructions given by the Commission instead of conducting the elections based on customary practices, even if they have supervised several elections in the past.

“Even if you have supervised several elections in the past, but you have never supervised this particular by-election involving 23 wards. After these training sessions, that’s when you will be able to supervise it. Therefore, utilize your experience to ensure that this election is conducted with the highest level of efficiency,” said Ms Omari.

She reminded the officials to consult and involve political parties and other election stakeholders in their respective areas throughout the electoral process regarding electoral issues that deserve their involvement, as this will facilitate the execution of their duties.

Ms Omari urged the supervisors to identify polling stations in advance in order to determine the specific requirements of each station, with the aim of ensuring a smooth and peaceful election process.

“I urge you to ensure that you employ competent personnel at the polling stations, individuals who are self-aware, and to refrain from favoritism towards relatives who are not qualified to carry out election duties. Verify the election materials received from the Commission and ensure that each polling station is provided with all the necessary election materials in a timely manner,” said Ms Omari

She instructed the supervisors to provide political parties with a list of polling stations to enable them to allocate agents and ensure that on the day of the election, there is a procedure in place that allows each polling station to open at 7:00 AM.

The purpose of the training sessions for election supervisors and assistant supervisors at the constituency and ward levels was to enhance their skills, reinforce their understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and facilitate discussions on effectively conducting the elections and managing potential challenges.

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