New constituencies up for grabs as CUF cries foul

Tuesday May 12 2015

National Electoral Commission (NEC) chairman

National Electoral Commission (NEC) chairman Damian Lubuva speaks yesterday in Dar es Salaam during a joint forum with political parties.  With him is NEC Director of Elections Julius Malaba.  PHOTO | VENANCE NESTORY 

Dar es Salaam. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has announced the commencement of the review of boundaries and demarcation of constituencies ahead of the October General Election.

The electoral body yesterday told representatives of registered political parties that new districts established after the 2010 General Election will automatically become new constituencies.

Twenty new districts have been formed since 2010. However, five – Bumbuli, Busega, Gairo, Kalambo and Kyerwa – were already constituencies before being promoted to districts.

The remaining 15 will become new constituencies and will be up for grabs in the elections.

They are Buhigwe (Kigoma), Butiama (Mara), Chemba (Dodoma), Ikungi (Singida), Itimila (Simiyu), Kakonko (Kigoma), Kaliua (Tabora), Mbogwe (Geita), Mkalama (Singida), Mlele (Katavi), Momba (Mbeya), Nyang’hwale (Geita), Nyasa (Ruvuma), Uvinza (Kigoma) and Wanging’ombe (Njombe).

NEC Commissioner Prof Amon Chaligha said it would be an administrative nightmare for one constituency to fall under more than one district, adding that the demarcation of constituencies was a top priority ahead of elections.

  The review, however, will involve only constituencies in Tanzania mainland since those in  Zanzibar fall under the jurisdiction of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The formation of new constituencies will take the number of parliamentary electoral areas to at least 254 from the current 239.

Prof Chaligha said NEC would from tomorrow issue timetables for voters to submit their views on the boundaries of their constituencies and whether they should be split.

The views will be submitted to district administrative officers, who will, in turn, forward them to regional administrative secretaries, who will then table them before regional consultative committees, which will give recommendations to NEC.

NEC Director of Elections Julius Malaba said the review would take into account the constitutional requirements of communication, geographical conditions, population and economic outlook of the area intended for demarcation into constituencies.

Civic United Front (CUF) chairman Ibrahim Lipumba said the opposition was of the view that the review had already been done and new constituencies had been demarcated through “the backdoor” and NEC was only going through the motion of involving political parties.

“It’s strange to hear that this process is starting now...we have been hearing rumours that some constituencies have been split for quite some time by NEC and the Prime Minister’s Office,” he said.

“With the remaining time to elections it is impossible to review the boundaries of all constituencies and decide where to add the new ones. We are now being used only to legitimise something which was done behind our backs.”

NEC chairman Damian Lubuva said Prof Lipumba’s claims were unfounded and the process would commence this week.

“There is no conspiracy here; the most important thing is for you (political parties) to have faith in us (NEC). That is the only way for us to work together and accomplish this successfully,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Justice (rtd) Lubuva also said that NEC is expecting to finalise the on-going voter registration process using BVR technology around end of July or first week of August.

“Currently, we have 4,850 BVR kits on the ground and by the end of this month we are expecting to receive the remaining 3,150 kits, with the 8,000 kits in our hands the process will move in the desired pace,” he said.

So far NEC concluded the registration of voters in Njombe Region alone, and they are currently registering voters in Ruvuma, Lindi, Mtwara and Iringa regions.

According to Mr Justice Lubuva NEC would start registering voters in Dodoma, Rukwa, Katavi and Mbeya regions from Friday and Kigoma and Tabora regions from May 19.

However the leader of APPT-Maendeleo, Mr Kuga Mziray, said it was unfortunate that Tanzanians are not sure when they are going to be registered and NEC should now release the national schedule for the registration.

“We can’t properly plan for our activities because we don’t know when you (NEC) are going to reach our areas, we demand for a complete schedule so we can also plan for our other activities,” he said.

Mr Justice Lubuva said that would be possible once all the 8,000 BVR kits will be in the country and operational.

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