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US embassy: There will be consequences for poll misconduct

Friday October 02 2020
embassyn pic

US ambassador Donald J. Wright

Dar es Salaam. The US embassy in Dar es Salaam has issued a statement saying it does not support any candidate or party in Tanzania’s upcoming elections - but warns of consequences for those found responsible for violence or frustrating the democratic process.

The statement was posted on embassy website yesterday. It said the US, along with other democratic nations, would be paying close attention to actions of individuals, and: “We will not hesitate to consider consequences for those found responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.”

Millions of Tanzanians are expected to take part in the October 28 elections to choose the Union president, MPs, members of the Zanzibar House of Representative and councillors. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) and government authorities have repeatedly said they have done all that is required to ensure a free, fair, peaceful and democratic elections.

“We support a genuinely free, fair, transparent and peaceful electoral process before, during and after election day. This include ensuring the safety of all contestants, respect for the rule of law, and the absolute impartiality of the authorities in charge of managing the elections,” the embassy statement reads.

NEC chairman (Retired) Judge Semistocles Kaijage welcomed the US statement on supporting a free, fair and democratic election, saying that was what the electoral body has strived to achieve all along.

“As you know, our elections have been conducted in strict observance of laws, regulations and ethics governing elections to ensure free and democratic elections,” Justice Kaijage told The Citizen over the phone yesterday.

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He said Tanzania’s electoral laws and regulations do not allow loopholes for any candidate or institution, including NEC to act above the law or cross the legal boundaries for ensuring decent elections.

“Whatever issues a candidate faces, we expect he/she will approach the responsible authorities for consideration because we are guided by law to manage these elections. We have legally installed authorities to ensure this process is conducted in a fair and democratic manner,” he said.

The electoral body’s boss said NEC has accredited local and international election observers who will witness the election process before and after election day. (See related story on Page 3).

He said preparations to ensure that elections meet internationally accepted standards of a free and fair elections were in top gear.

“We completed the nomination process in a very transparent way, and we are now in campaigns where all candidates and parties are being treated fairly,” said the NEC chief.

Yesterday, the US said in a statement that the conduct of the upcoming elections in Tanzania has important consequences not only for Tanzania, but for the entire East African region.

“The United States government reaffirms unequivocally that it does not support any specific candidate or party in Tanzania’s upcoming elections,” reads the statement.

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