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Hands off Tanzania polls, China says

WITH less than a week remaining before the highly-anticipated General Election, China has called on all nations to respect the non-interference principle in other countries’ internal affairs.

The world’s second largest economy appealed to countries to support African countries’ independence and safeguard their unity and stability.

“We believe that the Tanzanian government and its people have the wisdom and capability to organise the election. We wish that the election will be held smoothly and successfully,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said in the regular press conference held on Tuesday.

Mr Zhao was responding to a question from one of the members of the press in China's Capital Beijing--demanding him to offer a comment regarding a recent statement issued by the US Embassy in Tanzania on the election.

Through the statement, the US Embassy called on the Tanzanian government to support the democratic process --adding that they will not hesitate to consider consequences for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.

China’s clear-cut confidence on Tanzania’s capability of managing her own affairs comes a few days after diplomats serving in the East African nation expressed their satisfaction on how the 2020 General Election is being handled.

They said the ongoing campaigns are focused on selling parties' policies and peaceful election, the aspects they have been praying for, given the well-known Tanzania's history in the liberation struggle and advocacy of peace and justice in Africa.

The envoys said Tanzania is branded as a haven of peace, a status known all over the world, which makes the country a shelter for other people from conflict-ravaged countries.

The members of the diplomatic corps made their observation on separate occasions last Thursday when paying courtesy calls on CCM Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally at Lumumba CCM sub-head office in Dar es Salaam.

The Envoy who commended the electoral process in the country include the recently appointed US ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Donald Wright, Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania, Dan Kazungu and Mozambique Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Monica Mussa.

Tanzanians will for the first time vote for Union and Zanzibar presidents, members of parliament, House of Representatives and councillors on a weekday, after NEC announced October 28th, 2020 as the polling day.

The government has already declared the day a public holiday, a move sought to allow more electorate to exercise their democratic right.

Tanzania officially entered its campaign season on August 27, with incumbent President John Magufuli, who is seeking re-election facing 14 challengers for the presidency.

A total of 29,188,347 voters have been registered ahead of the election, including 7,326,552 new voters. There would be 80,155 polling stations, with each station set to cater for not more than 500 electorates.

This year's election has attracted more political parties fielding presidential candidates compared to the previous 2015 General Election, where four opposition parties Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), NCCR-Mageuzi, the Civic United Front (CUF) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) formed a coalition and fielded a single candidate.

This will be the sixth general election since the reintroduction of multiparty politics in the country in 1992, with the first election held in 1995.

In this year’s election, Tanzania has proven its capability to meet all costs of this essential civic duty with a budget of 331bn/-. The East African nation is paying for this election from its coffers, instead, of seeking foreign aid.

Local, regional and international organizations are expected to observe the election, including the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) and the East African Community (EAC) Election Observer Mission.

The SEOM is headed by the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation from Botswana, Dr Lemogang Kwape and EAC Mission will be led by Burundi's former President Mr Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

The SEOM is in Tanzania at the invitation of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and its conduct will be consistent with the Constitution and electoral law of Tanzania, and the provisions of the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

The government of Tanzania last month announced that it has allowed 15 foreign countries with embassies in the country to bring in international election observers.

SENIOR officials with BEVICO Limited, a company engaged ...

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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