WOMEN SPECIAL SEATS COUNCILORS’ LIST ‘OUT NEXT WEEK’

Author: SYLIVESTER DOMASA
AfricaPress-Tanzania: THE National Electoral Commission (NEC) said on Friday it will announce a list of women special seats councillors next week after completing thorough review of the names submitted by political parties that took part in the October 28 general election.

Dr Wilson Charles, Director of the Elections announced at the meeting on Friday that NEC would be meeting this weekend to review and ascertain the number for each deserving political party.

“The entire process to approve the names of women special seats councillors will begin today,” he announced when briefing on the just ended general election.

The meeting involved regional coordinators and returning officers from across Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar regions. He said: “The full list will be published in the Government Gazette (GN) next week.”

The plan, according to the director, is to ensure the Regional Administration and Local Government (RALG) embarked on forming councils as per the local government law.

It was unclear how many women members would be representing the 3,957 wards countrywide, but during the 2015 election, 1,406 women were voted for special seats councillors. Dr Charles said all permanent registered political parties had posted their members to run for councillor positions.

He said 9,237 members from various political parties were endorsed by NEC to vie for the posts. According to the results, the ruling CCM won 3,792 wards, meaning it will have the majority number of women special seats councillors.

CCM was, however, followed by Chadema that won 87 seats and ACT-Wazalendo 41 seats. The NEC director said NEC would be guided by the Constitution, election rules, procedures and guidelines on the selection process, warning also that it was not up to NEC to decide who should be a special seat or not.

“This is a process that is commissioned by a political party. Our part is to just consider how many seats the political party is entitled and in correspondence to the list submitted, we pick the number of candidates from the first number to the last,” he said, noting: “It’s the party that makes priorities.”

Speaking on Parliamentary special seats, Dr Charles acknowledged that only CCM had produced the names and NEC was waiting for a report from Chadema, which also qualified for special seats legislators.

According to election guidelines, a political party with at least 15 per cent of the parliamentary votes qualify for nominating its women members.

CCM garnered 78 per cent of all valid votes followed by Chadema with 15 per cent. As per the calculation, CCM was entitled to 94 special seats and 19 special seats for Chadema. He reiterated that this year’s election was held as per the country’s Constitution, rules and procedures and it was successful due to well-coordinated approaches that NEC adopted.

It included increasing the number of polling stations and training election supervisors and returning officers. He also admitted some challenges during the voting process, including some political parties failing to observe the election ethics code of conduct and intruding political parties during campaigns.

NEC Vice-Chairperson Justice Mbarouk Salim Mbarouk thanked election supervisors, coordinators and returning officers for facilitating a free, fair and transparent election in which the results were announced in 48 hours.

He said NEC was holding the meeting to review the general election and recommend solutions to problems that occurred during the just ended general election.

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