Low voter turnout in by-elections

Sunday January 14 2018

Mama Noltetian ole Ntioko is assisted to cast

Mama Noltetian ole Ntioko is assisted to cast her ballot at Kimokouwa Primary School polling station in Longido, Arusha, Saturday. PHOTO | FILBERT RWEYEMAMU 

By The Citizen Reporters @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Longido/Songea/Singida. There was a low turnout of voters in Singida North and Songea while many voters turned out in Longido by-election.

Observation by The Citizen established that some voters failed to turn out to vote in Singida North due to heavy rain currently pounding parts of Singida Region.

The three constituencies held by-elections due to various reasons. Singida North held by-election after Mr Lazaro Nyalandu defected to the main Opposition, Chadema, while Songea held by-election after the death of Mr Leonidas Gama. Longido held by-election after the court nullified the victory of its legislator Onesmo ole Nangole. According to assistant supervisor at the polling station located at Ntonge Village, Mr Maiga Medard, revealed that the polling stations were open at around 7am, saying that until 1:48pm, 9 out of 351 registered voters had appeared at the polling station to cast their votes.

“I think the turnout has been affected by the rain given the fact that majority of voters are farmers, therefore they have gone to their farms. My expectation is that, before 4pm, more people will come to cast their votes,” he said.

For his part, Thobias Ngobei, another supervisor at polling station located at Ilongero Village said the rainfall had also affected the turnout.

“We expected at least 1, 000 voters, but as I’m speaking, only 100 voters have come to the station to cast their votes,” he said.

However, reports had suggested that the polling station located at Mughamu Village had a high turnout, where majority of voters reportedly to casted their votes.

Earlier, speaking to journalists, CCM candidate Justine Monko, said he was satisfied with the by-election progress, describing it as “transparent” and “fair”.

One of the voters in Namanga, who asked not to be named, told The Citizen that the low turnout of voters at Namanga may be attributed to the fact that the main opposition parties have boycotted the by-election.

In Songea, an observation carried out into over seven polling stations by The Citizen revealed that by-election officials were idle, awaiting voters.

According to the physical check, police were also seen sitting outside some polling stations while few voters came to vote.

A returning officer at one of the polling stations, Mr Hamis Abdallah Ally, said until the time he was speaking there were no complaints although there was a low voter turnout and that he could not given the reason behind the sluggish turnout compared to past elections.

CCM candidates stand a chance to win all seats following the decision by Chadema and Ukawa parties to boycott the by-elections.