Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lowassa warns electoral body against polls flaws



Chadema’s presidential candidate Edward Lowassa

Chadema’s presidential candidate Edward Lowassa 

By Athuman Mtulya The Citizen Reporter

Mwanza. Chadema’s presidential candidate Edward Lowassa has warned the National Electoral Commission (NEC) saying any mistake on its part could plunge the nation into election-related chaos.

Addressing a campaign rally yesterday at Sabasaba grounds in Magu District, Mr Lowassa said it was shocking to hear President Jakaya Kikwete on Wednesday giving statistics on the registered voters that differed from the official number publicised by NEC.

While the President said there were 27.7 million voters, NEC last week published the figures as standing at 22.7 million, however, the government later made corrections.

“Even though the correction was made, the situation still leaves behind some serious questions. How come the President is presented with wrong and misleading information, who is giving the President such information, this is alarming,” wondered Mr Lowassa.

According to Mr Lowassa, NEC should be cautious in these last days especially when it comes to data or else their integrity will be questioned, “We don’t wish to get to that stage, and the only way out of that is for NEC to ensure only credible information is shared. Otherwise when people lose trust with their electoral body which is supposed to be professional and impartial then it’s certain for skirmishes to happen.”

For his part Chadema’s national chairman Freeman Mbowe reiterated his party’s position and that of the Ukawa coalition (which includes CUF, NCCR-Mageuzi and NLD) that their confidence in NEC was low.

Mr Mbowe said such misinformation as that passed on to President Kikwete gave them every reason to guard their votes.

“They are trying to intimidate us saying we should not be anywhere near polling stations to wait for the results while the law allows us to stay at least 200 metres away,” he said.

Mr Mbowe also took the crowd the through a voter education session instructing them on how to vote for Lowassa without spoiling their votes. “Don’t get overwhelmed or panick when you go to the polling station,” he said.

He said even though they are eager to knock off Magufuli, they should not put any mark on his picture.

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