Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) such as the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), the judiciary and media should not be partisan, but remain neutral to lay ground for free and fair elections. “Elections require strong and resilient institutions. To ensure organisation and management of elections do not degenerate into chaos, violence, fraud and other unintended consequences, all stakeholders need to be contented with legitimacy of the electoral process,” a senior official with a UN agency has said. Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, the UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said this in Dar es Salaam yesterday, at the Judges’ Sensitisation Workshop on the Electoral Process in Tanzania, an event which brought together 46 Judges of the Appeals Court of Tanzania and Judges of the High Court on the Mainland.
Commenting on the significance of credible elections, Mr Rodriguez said the voting process provides an avenue for popular participation in public decision making, giving all citizens, men and women, rich and poor, old and eligible youth in rural and urban areas, equal opportunity to have a voice in the affairs of their country.
He said that the UNDP supported the workshop through its three-year Democratic Empowerment Project (DEP) with the aim to enhance legal and institutional reform for credible elections, help EMBs build management capacity, foster inclusive participation in political and electoral process and strengthen the national peace infrastructure to mitigate and resolve election-related conflicts.