The appeal was made yesterday, a day after the NEC said that the October 25 General Election would be free.
Political parties forming the Coalition of People’s Constitution, going by the Kiswahili acronym of UKAWA, appealed to the NEC to allow them and international observers to inspect tallying before the poll.
Speaking with journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Chadema Deputy Secretary-General (Mainland), John Mnyika, said transparency and fairness would only be in place if stakeholders were allowed access to the crucial equipment.
On Tuesday, NEC Chair Judge (rtd) Damian Lubuva urged the electorate to have faith in the institution. He said their votes will count as no individual or institution can steer them from the will of the people.
“Tanzanians should not worry about our ability to handle this year’s General Election. There is no candidate or political party that will be favoured,” he emphasised. He pointed out that no one would be treated unfairly.
Mnyika argued that until and unless NEC allows Ukawa IT specialists and international observers to study the new technology that receives, computes and announces the presidential vote results, the good news by the NEC would be nothing but mere lip service to Tanzanians.
“I ask Tanzanians who want change not to leave the polling stations after casting their votes,” he said, implying that there could be a plot to temper with the results.
However, he asked voters to abide by the law that requires them to stand at a distance of 200 metres from the polling stations after casting their votes.
He pointed out that the move by NEC to allow IT specialists from Ukawa and other parities will help them ascertain the efficiency of the technology. In this way they would avoid any foul play, including theft of votes, he said, stressing:
“Ukawa hereby calls upon NEC to allow our IT experts to scrutinise the software because it can have some serious defects or may have been made beforehand to give out certain results,” he suggested, cautioning:
“We fear that our votes could be stolen if matters remain as they are.”
He said the role of international observers is crucial because they are independent. They should analyse the technology and issue a report before the General Election, he said and pleaded:
“This will give confidence to us and Tanzanians that the General Election will be free and fare.”
He complained that NEC said recently that it would issue a database eight days before the General Election. That was not fair because politicians, academicians and other stakeholders would not have a chance to comment on it.
“We are supposed to get the first provisional register before being given the permanent one,” he said.
However, the National Permanent Voters Register Database was introduced for the first time in Tanzania by using the Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) technology instead of Optical Mark Recognition (OMR). The latter system was previously used to create the National Permanent Voter Register.
In this year’s General Election, NEC will use the software technology to receive, tally, compute and announce the election results.
Use of the software aims at ensuring that presidential election results announced by returning officers across the country are captured immediately and sent electronically to the NEC headquarters. From here the tallying will be automatically recorded as the results trickle in.