24 October 2020
Hon, Chief Justice (Retired) Hamid Mahmoud Hamid
Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC)
P.O Box 1001 – Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Tel: +255 242231489
RE: A Call Preparations for Free, Fair and Credible Elections in Zanzibar
We, the members of Tanzania Elections Watch (TEW) seek your indulgence in regard to the upcoming elections in Zanzibar on 27 th October to 28 th Oct 2020.
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 call upon you to exercise your mandate in ensuring that, the elections are free, fair and credible. In particular, we call upon the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) to ensure that the elections are conducted in a manner that inspires public confidence and that the voting, results tallying and transmission process is, transparent and accountable as prescribed in numerous international treaties, to which Tanzania is party to.
We observed the conduct of the commission especially in the disqualification of candidates before this election, which raised concerns on the impartiality of the ZEC. We have noted complaints by the stakeholders of the elections regarding the Permanent Voters Register (PVR). We also note with concern, questions raised over the credibility of the voters’ register and complaints raised on the unfair treatment and lack of transparency in the disqualification of numerous candidates from the ballot, in line with Section 2 of the SADC Principles and Guidelines on the conduct of Democratic Elections. We understand that the current elections are being conducted against the backdrop of the questionable annulment of the 2015 elections for which no amicable resolution was undertaken.
As the country heads to the polls on the 28th 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 ZEC to ensure that the current elections do indeed represent the sovereign will of the people of Zanzibar, 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 impress upon you, that the continued peace and harmony in Zanzibar hinges on your successful conduct of a truly credible, impartial and transparent process, in line with 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