Tanzania Electoral Commission Violating Rules, Says Opposition

  • Nation will hold presidential, parliamentary vote on Oct. 25
  • Electoral commission yet to publish voters' register

Tanzania’s main opposition party said it’s losing confidence in the country’s electoral commission for violating rules, less than a week to the polling day.

The Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo opposition party sent a letter to the United Nations, the African Union and the Commonwealth on alleged breaches by the electoral body, John Mallya, the party’s head of legal and campaign compliance, told reporters in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam on Monday.

“Up to now, the electoral commission has not released the proper voters’ register to political parties so we don’t know which voters are where,” Mallya said. “We have also not been allowed access to the electronic tally system to audit its effectiveness.”

Giveness Aswile, a spokeswoman for the electoral commission, didn’t answer two calls to her mobile phone when Bloomberg called seeking comment on Monday.

“Our team is working around the clock to avail a detailed register that will break down every bit including demographics,” Aswile told Bloomberg in an interview by phone from Tanga on Oct. 15. “It will be out soon, maybe two working days.”

Tanzanians will be voting on Oct. 25 in an election expected to be the most hotly contested with opposition groups jointly fielding one candidate in each constituency to try unseat the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, Teneo Intelligence said in an e-mailed note to clients.

Opposition leader Edward Lowassa has warned he would refuse to concede defeat in Sunday’s elections if there is any evidence of rigging.

The CCM has been the dominant political power in Tanzania since its independence from Britain in 1961. Elections have been relatively peaceful.

“Though tensions will be high on election day, political unrest is unlikely until the announcement of the results by the National Electoral Commission,” Teneo said.

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