Over 500,000 people seek candidacy in Tanzania’s civic polls ~ official

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3D ballot box with a Tanzania flag. Image: Getty images
3D ballot box with a Tanzania flag. Image: Getty images

At least 539,953 people have submitted electoral forms seeking to be nominated as candidates hunting for leadership positions in Tanzania’s November 24 civic polls, a cabinet minister said on Saturday.

Selemani Jafo, the Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for Regional Administration and Local Government, said the 539,953 people were out of 550,036 people who had collected the forms seeking nomination for candidacy.

“The number of people who have submitted their forms amounts to 97.29 percent,” Jafo told a news conference in the commercial the capital Dodoma, adding that 10,083 people who had collected the forms were yet to submit them for reasons best known to themselves.

He said relevant authorities will no Sunday announce the number of people who have been endorsed to contest leadership positions in the civic polls.

Commenting on four political parties that have withdrawn from the civic polls citing nomination irregularities, Jafo said their withdrawal was part of the democratic process.

“They are not forced to do something that they feel they should not do,” said the official.

By Saturday, four political parties of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), ACT-Wazalendo, Chama Cha Kijamii (CCK) and Chama Cha Ukombozi wa Umma (CHAUMA) had announced withdrawal from the polls, all citing nomination irregularities.

Mwita Waitara, the Deputy Minister in the President’s Office responsible for Regional Administration and Local Government told a news conference that the polls will go ahead despite boycotts announced by some opposition parties.

“The civic polls will be conducted on November 24 as planned despite boycotts announced by some opposition parties,” said Waitara.

Waitara said the government has prepared to ensure peaceful election warning the opposition and other citizens to refrain from instigating chaos during and after the election.

In addition, Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola directed the Inspector General of Police to take action against some few people reportedly planning to instigate chaos at various parts of the country in order to disrupt the electoral process.

“Security organs including the police force are determined to ensure peace throughout elections. We will use all the resources to control malpractices during the polls and ensure Tanzanians practice their right to vote,” said Lugola.

The November 24 civic polls will be the sixth since the country re-introduced multiparty democracy.

Jafo said recently the target was to register 22.9 million voters but only 19.7 million registered for the polls.

Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics show that there are 26,960,485 eligible voters in the country. There are 22 registered political parties in Tanzania.

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