Tanzania: Dar for Fairness in voter roll

tanzania_bernard_membeFOREIGN Affairs and International Co-operation Minister, Bernard Membe (pictured), said yesterday that the government will not tolerate anyone tampering with the voter registration process.

Mr Membe was reacting to a statement of European Union (EU) envoys in Tanzania who expressed concern over alleged flaws in the the voter regisration process in Zanzibar.

The minister said there was nothing wrong with the envoys commenting on the allegations, but warned that they would be interfering in Tanzania’s internal affairs if they went to Pemba and tampered with the registration process.

“Every Tanzanian aged above 18 years has the right to register and vote. It is the task of the government and the ruling party to ensure Tanzanians exercise that right,” Mr Membe told the Daily News in an interview.

The minister said it was the duty of everyone to fight against those involved in frustrating voter registration process and not the task of the European Union alone.

He said that there was already an outcry on flaws in the voter registration process from members of parliament and the media. He said CCM National Executive Committee (NEC) would address the issue in its forthcoming session.

The EU envoys said in the statement that they urged all political parties and groups to refrain from violence and use peaceful means to express their opinions and differences.

In another development, Zanzibar Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Mr Haroun Ali Suleiman, dismissed as unfounded rumours that students sitting their final examination this year would be required to show their Zanzibar ID cards before they were allowed in examination rooms.

A section of media specifically the state owned paper, ‘Zanzibar-Leo’, carried a story yesterday that Zanzibar students at the age 18 years and above, preparing to sit for their exams this year, but have no ZAN ID, would be barred from exams.

“These are mere speculations, ZAN ID will not be compulsory for exams this year. If there are teachers and headteachers talking about the IDs they should stop immediately because the ministry has no plans to make ZAN IDs a requirement in the exams,” Mr Haroun said.

Students are preparing for their national examination scheduled to start in October this year, but the speculations that IDs would be compulsory for the exams has caused panic among some students as now they rush to apply for the IDs at district offices.

The minister’s statement comes at a time when there is growing demand for the ZAN IDs in all parts of Zanzibar after many people were trapped in the voters’ registration process on Pemba Island.

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