ELECTION PREPS IN TOP GEAR

Author: LYDIA SHEKIGHENDA
AfricaPress-Tanzania: PREPARATIONS for the October 28 General Election are on course as the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has revealed that it has dispatched more than 80 per cent of the electoral materials to councils across the country.

The commission has also assured voters that it has taken all necessary actions to ensure sufficient supply of quality electionrelated equipment to all polling stations.

Procurement and Logistics Advisory Committee Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Urembo said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the distribution of the election materials was done in three phases, which involved dispatching materials for training, nomination and voting.

“We are now in the third and final phase of dispatching voting materials which include ballot papers and result forms, which are very crucial for the process,” said Mr Urembo, who is also NEC’s Director of Procurement and Logistics Management.

Mr Urembo was speaking when the committee members toured the NEC storage facility for election materials in the city. The committee consists of representatives from all political parties and other public institutions.

He said that the commission ntends to ensure that all councils are supplied with the voting materials by October 24 this year before being distributed to wards and polling stations ahead of the Election Day.

Mr Urembo further detailed that NEC was committed to make sure this year’s General Election is conducted smoothly by keeping everything in order before the polling day.

‘NEC had worked on the evaluation report of the previous elections and discovered that there were some shortfalls which needed to be addressed in various areas, including timely distribution of electoral materials,” he said.

He said timely distribution of electoral materials was one of the commission’s priorities, and their quality was another area of its concern.

“We are well organised to ensure that we minimise or eliminate shortfalls which occurred in the previous elections… this is possible due to advanced technology,” Mr Urembo added.

A committee member from Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), Rodrick Rutambeka commended NEC for inviting the members to tour the warehouse and witness the dispatch of the election materials.

He also applauded it for considering visually- impaired voters by introducing tactile ballot folder which will allow individuals with visual impairment to read and vote for the candidate of their choice.

Another committee member, Eugene Kabendera from Chauma said he was confident that voting will be conducted smoothly following the preparations that have been done so far by NEC.

“I believe that there will be no inconveniences in polling stations because there will be neither delay in supplying the equipment nor insufficient materials,” he said.

On Thursday, NEC presented samples of ballot papers, permanent voter register as well as a list of polling centres countrywide as part of voter education ahead of the polls.

Tanzanians will go to the polls to vote for the president, parliamentarians and councillors in the sixth General Election under the multiparty system, which has attracted 15 presidential candidates, including incumbent President Dr John Magufuli.

A total of 29,188,347 voters have been registered by the NEC. There will be 80,155 polling stations, with each station set to cater for not more than 500 voters.

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