24 October 2020
Hon Justice Semistocles Kaijage
National Electoral Commission of Tanzania
Foreign Affairs Building, Shaaban Robert Street and Garden Avenue
DAR ES SALAAM
Tel: +255 22 2114963-6
RE: A Call for Free, Fair and Credible Elections in the Republic of Tanzania in line with international law and norms
We, the members of Tanzania Elections Watch (TEW) seek your indulgence in regard to the upcoming elections in Tanzania on October 28th 2020. We call upon you to exercise your mandate in ensuring that the elections are free, fair and credible. In particular, we call upon the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to ensure that the elections are carried out in a manner that inspires public confidence and that the voting, results tallying and transmission process is transparent and accountable.
Tanzania Election Watch (TEW) is a regional initiative whose mandate is to shed light on the electoral context in the United Republic of Tanzania and offer a regional response to the same. The initiative focuses on growing regional and international attention and response to the electoral situation in Tanzania.
The TEW initiative has put together a dedicated panel of eminent persons, made up of well reputed individuals from the region, to critically debate key developments and events as they unfold, in order to trigger appropriate responses, to address the prevalent human rights and political concerns being observed in Tanzania.
We would like to raise our concern that the conduct of the commission so far (going to the elections), does not pass the basic tests, of an independent and impartial election management body, as set out in several international treaties and standards, to which Tanzania is a party to. The standards are set out in the SADC Principles and Guidelines for the conduct of Democratic Elections, as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The disqualification of candidates at both the parliamentary
and councilor levels, raised concerns on the integrity, impartiality and transparency of the electoral body. We issued a statement on 11th September 2020, on the disqualification, and called upon the commission
to hear the appeals from the disqualified candidates with utmost integrity, fairness and transparency. We were pleased to learn that the appeals were heard and some candidates were reinstated. We are concerned however, that many of the candidates remain locked out of the process, while others have been “elected unopposed” in contravention of Article 66 (1) (b)of the United Republic’s constitution. It is indeed a concern, that the process for the hearing of appeals severely lacked in transparency, as is required in the administration of justice.
As the country heads to the polls on the 28 th October 2020, the panel calls upon you to work with other institutions, to create an enabling environment for peaceful and credible elections. We call upon the NEC
to ensure that the elections are conducted in a manner that truly represents the sovereign will of the people of Tanzania, in keeping with regional and international standards including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
We would like to remind you that, the long-term peace and stability of Tanzania as well as the region rests on your commitment and diligence in conducting a credible, impartial, fair and transparent process that
meets universally accepted standards and norms.
Kindly receive the assurance of our most distinguished sentiments.
Professor Frederick Ssempebwa – Chairperson
Ms. Alice Mogwe – Co-Chair
Dr. Willy Mutunga – Co-Chair