Top leading Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Tanzania have been denied the right to observe the forthcoming General Elections and to provide voter education to citizens during the October polls.
Institutions that have been excluded from electoral processes include the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF), and the Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee (TEMCO).
NGOs excluded have expressed disquiet and have written to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to seek reasons and clarity over their disqualification from participating in the forthcoming General Election, such organizations encompass, LHRC and the TCF. 245 NGOs were given the greenlight to provide voter education, as 97 organizations will serve as local observers.
The LHRC executive director Anna Henga said, they are still positive that they will participate in the election despite the exclusion, and they will be majoring on human rights protection.
“We are waiting for a response from NEC. We will participate in this year’s General Election as other ordinary Tanzanians and emphasise on protection of human rights during the elections,” pointed out Henga.
Henga further hinted that the disqualification might have been propelled by some who have besmirch the organization as a politically aligned organization.
“NEC should tell us the reasons for our exclusion. They (NEC) could have reached this decision out of a negative perception that we are favoring some political parties, “added Henga.
She further pointed out that the next polls should be transparent, as it is the organization’s mandate to facilitate free and fair elections.
“They should be fair and transparent because we would like to work on the reasons so that we sort out these issues to make our future polls more transparent,” she said.
TCF executive director Bob Wangwe highlighted that his organization is a far qualified entity in facilitating and overseeing electoral processes.
“We would like to know the reasons for our disqualification so that we correct or improve our operations. We are confident that we are an experienced and resourceful NGO in terms of working tools, financial and human resource capabilities,” highlighted Wangwe.
According to THRDC national coordinator Onesmo, the number of NGOs who have been providing voter education and election observation decreased to 340 from 440 accredited NGO’s after 2015, thereby creating financial inadequacy in both election observation and voter education.
“… Leaving out NGOs with financial capabilities and enough human resources like TEMCO, THRDC and LHRC will create a serious vacuum in this year’s election monitoring process,” noted Onesmo.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent