Tanzania: Stakeholders Propose Mobile Stations in Voters’ Update

VARIOUS stakeholders, including civil society organisations and religious leaders have suggested that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) should consider using mobile stations to reach many Tanzanians when updating the Permanent National Voters’ Register (PVR).

Additionally, the Commission has emphasised the significance of sensitising all parties involved–political parties, religious authorities, youth, women, citizens and civil organisations, about the need to upgrade PVR in order to support peaceful and stable elections.

The stakeholders also at different times encouraged the public to come forward to register and update their information so that they have the right to choose their leaders.

In the PVR update exercise, NEC conducted a one-day seminar with diverse stakeholders, including religious leaders, youth and women groups, associations of individuals with disabilities and civil organisations.

Dr Ave Maria Semakafu of the Ulingo Women’s Institute stated at the conference that there are some communities and women in marginal areas who are at risk of missing out on the opportunity to register and upgrade their information in the PVR.

“Is NEC not aware of how important it is to create mobile services for those who work in mines and go farming in the valleys so they can exercise their right to choose their leaders?” she enquired

According to Marcela Lungu, Men Engage Tanzania (MET) Representative, it is important that NEC look at the best way to develop a mobile service to reach more Tanzanians.

Mohammed Said, the Deputy Secretary General of the National Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA), urged the populace to register and update their information in order to preserve their constitutional right to choose their leaders. This is especially important for those living in the areas where NEC will be conducting a trial PVR upgrading exercise.

“We request that enough plans be made to reach as many people as possible so that they can register and update their information in large numbers.” Program officer -Interfaith Relations and Ecumenism at Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), Pastor David Kalinga said.

NEC announced recently that it will be conducting the trial PVR upgrading exercise which will take place in Ng’ambo Ward, Tabora Municipal Council, Tabora Region and Ikoma Ward, Rorya District Council, Mara Region. It will be held from November 24 to 30 this year.

Earlier, NEC Chairman, Judge Jacobs Mwambegele stated that talks with stakeholders were organised to ensure that they had sufficient understanding about the enhancement of PVR so that when the elections are held, everyone could participate in the process.

NEC’s Director of Elections, Kailima Ramadhani, stated that the Commission will look into the concept of having a mobile service, but that the Commission is presently working hard to bring stations to different parts of the country so that everyone may be able to access them.

Furthermore, he cautioned against the Tanzanian culture of not arriving at the planned time to register or update their information, as most people turn up on the deadline day and encouraged them to cease doing so since they might not be able to register and lose their right to vote.

On 16 November, NEC announced that registered voters can now update their information in the PVR online, either through mobile phones or computers.

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