Concerns over low turnout for voter listing

Sunday October 13 2019

President John Magufuli and his wife, Janeth

President John Magufuli and his wife, Janeth (right), wait in a line ready to be registered as voters at the Sokoine Centre in Dodoma City yesterday. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3

Dar es Salaam. The deadline for voter registration in the forthcoming civic polls is tomorrow. However, the low turnout observed so far has triggered concerns among stakeholders and the government.

According to the voter registration statistics as of Friday issued by the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Selemani Jafo, Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Kilimanjaro were the regions lagging behind in voter registration turnout.

“In Dar es Salaam, only 8 per cent of the population have been registered, Kilimanjaro (12 per cent), and Arusha (13),” revealed Mr Jafo as he addressed residents of Katavi Region during President John Magufuli’s tour of the region on Friday.

The minister further revealed that Iringa was the leading region (54 per cent) in having a high voter registration turnout followed by Songwe, Mbeya and Tanga.

Mr Jafo appealed to the President to intervene by taking measures against the regions which will fail to mobilise voter turnout by at least 50 per cent come the deadline tomorrow (Monday).

The forthcoming civic polls slated for November 24 in Mainland Tanzania will be held in 12,319 villages, 4,264 streets and 64,384 hamlets, according to Mr Jafo.


Mr Jafo was recently quoted as saying that his office had already completed the process of making the regulations for the civic polls.

According to the minister, the election campaigns will be held for seven days before the Election Day.

Just a day after the minister issued such a plea, President John Magufuli yesterday said he didn’t expect to hear excuses from the regional authorities over their failure to effectively supervise the voter registration exercise.

The President further said he had already instructed Mr Jafo to submit to him a refined report indicating the numbers of registered voters in each region upon the completion of voter registration.

“I urge the leaders to ensure that people get registered in a large number,” urged the President as he addressed residents of Mpanda District during his tour of Katavi Region on Friday.

ACT Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe via his Twitter account page yesterday said, “It is true the voter registration exercise isn’t doing well. Majority of the citizens have boycotted the registration.

But the President’s move to intimidate the leaders isn’t the best solution, instead he should have encouraged people to get registered.”

The President on Saturday ended his nine-day tour of the southwestern regions of Songwe, Rukwa and Katavi and left for Dodoma aboard an ATCL plane.

Shortly after landing in Dodoma, President Magufuli and his wife, Janeth, registered for the civic polls in Chamwino District.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday also registered for the civic polls in Ruangwa District in Lindi Region, and further warned people against involvement in corrupt practices during the civic elections.

“Each citizen who is eligible for casting votes should get registered. There are people who deceive others by telling those who already have the voter identification cards are not supposed to get registered again for the forthcoming civic polls, this is a big lie,” warned the Premier.