NEC independence queried

Dar es Salaam. The chairman of the Council of Political Parties, Mr John Shibuda, has voiced concern over free and fair elections as promised by the President John Magufuli in his recent meetings.
The country will hold the 2020 General Election in October, but opposition parties are increasingly worried over the President’s pledge because District Executive Directors (DEDs), who are presidential appointees, will still be returning officers.
Mr Shibuda, who was speaking yesterday during a meeting between the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and registered political parties, said the former ought to prove its independence because they were appointed by President Magufuli, who will likely seek reelection. The President assured the international community earlier this year that Tanzania would hold a free and fair election, but ever since, the opposition parties have been raising their voice of independence of electoral body.  Apart from President Magufuli, a similar assurance was also said by the minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, when he was addressing the 43rd United Nation Human Rights Council held on February 26, this year, in Geneva Switzerland.    Mr Shibuda said: “Despite the President’s statement that this year’s election will be free and fair, there are still worries on our side. DEDs might announce biased elections results to protect their employment,” he said.
The outspoken politician asked the office of Prime Minister to empower the councils, while calling for the need of political parties to meet with Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB), ministry at the office of President- local government and regional administration to allow people to practice politics freely and without favouritism.