Nairobi, Kampala, Gaborone, London 28 October 2020: The Panel of Eminent Persons, led by three co-chairs Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa from Uganda, Dr. Willy Mutunga from Kenya and Alice Mogwe from Botswana continue to closely follow the developments in the United Republic of Tanzania ahead of the General Elections to be held on 28 October, 2020.
The Panel would like to take this opportunity to commend the willingness of the people of Tanzania to take part in the electoral process which is a testament to their commitment to a participatory democracy as stipulated in Article 3 and 8 of the United Republic of Tanzania constitution.
The Panel expressed concern about recent events and reports observed during the election day which dampen the credibility of the electoral process:
- Shutdown of the internet on the 27th of October. Additionally, Twitter reported that it had been shut down in Tanzania on the same day.
- Reported deaths of innocent civilians in Tanzania and mainly in the Islands of Pemba and Unguja.
- Complaints of opposition polling agents being denied from observing voting in polling stations with some reportedly attacked or arrested while exercising their mandate.
- The reported arrests of candidates including Halima Mdee, Upendo Peneza on election day.
- The deployment and participation of the Tanzanian military in an erstwhile civilian process as witnessed predominantly in Zanzibar.
- Mobile service limitations of the free flow of information through short messaging services.
We are concerned that the incidents reported so far in the process bear questions on the credibility of the electoral process.
Bearing the recent reports in mind, the Panel calls on;
The NEC and ZEC to ensure that votes are counted fairly and to ensure transparency when announcing the winning candidates.
ii. The NEC and ZEC to transparently receive, investigate and respond to complaints raised by candidates and political parties across the country with the aim to ensure that justice is not only done but is also seen to be done.
ii. Tanzanian security forces to exercise fidelity to the constitution and Tanzanian law prescribing their mandate including protecting and ensuring the safety of the people.
iii. Political parties to actively engage in constructive dialogue and refrain from incitement in attending to the various complaints and disputes emanating from the electoral process.
iv. The international community to continue reminding the Tanzanian authorities about their mandate and obligations under international law including liability for any gross violations.
Lastly, the Panels invites the Tanzanian people to remain calm and peaceful during the remainder of the electoral process.
The Panel of Eminent Persons continues to monitor the General Elections and relevant events as Tanzanians exercise their right to participate in the governance of their country.
Professor Frederick Ssempebwa – Chairperson
Ms. Alice Mogwe – Co-Chair
Dr. Willy Mutunga – Co-Chair