Dar es Salaam. The National Electoral Commission (Nec) has released names of 245 organisations that would provide civic education for the October General Election, raising concern from some activists who say key and experienced organisations have been left out.
Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), the Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) and the Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation (Tacceo) have cried foul in the process.
THRDC national coordinator Onesmo Olengurumwa told The Citizen that despite the fact that 20 of its members have been picked, they were deeply concerned that some experienced and resourceful CSOs like LHRC, TCF and Tacceo have been locked out.
“We will advise excluded members to seek reasons for exclusion from Nec. THRDC will also analyse reasons for locking out serious and experienced CSOs in this important process,” he said over the phone.
But Nec chairman judge (rtd) Semistocles Kaijage said the selection of organisations was transparent and according to set criteria.
“There were many applicants for provision of civic education to voters. Only those that met the required qualifications have been chosen,” he said
He could not mention the shortfalls found in individual organisations that were left out without making reference.
LHRC executive director Anna Henga has attributed the exclusion of the CSOs to what she described as ‘political reasons’ and recommendations on how to improve elections that her organisation has been giving for the last 20 years.
“Voters education is a very short exercise. Probably, we have been spared so that we would be included on the list of election observers which is a tough and long term responsibility. However, we will seek Nec explanations in case we are left out in election observation too.”
She called on the 245 accredited CSOs to fulfil their responsibilities effectively and efficiently to make this year’s election democratic and meaningful.
TCF executive director Bob Wangwe said this isn’t the first time his organisation is denied opportunity despite meeting criteria and providing pre-requisite support to Nec.
“Probably, our outstanding job in the previous such works could be the reason for exclusion, but I think our experience to oversee election processes in 14 countries had to be considered,” he said.
Tacceo is an affiliate of LHRC. Its national coordinator William Kahale said the exclusion was anticipated after Registra of Non Governmental Organisations sent a letter to LHRC, instructing the organisation to dissolve Tacceo just days before release of the names of organisations accredited to provide civic organisations.
Nec invited in November last year interested organisations to provide civic education for the October General Election. The exercise was concluded on January 20, 2020