Stay away from polling centres after casting votes – Tanzanian police chief

Tanzanian police on Thursday warned voters to stay away from voting centres soon after they had cast their votes in Sunday's polls in order to avoid breach of peace.


Ernest Mangu, the east African nation’s Inspector General of Police, said the order to leaders of political parties and their supporters should be observed from Saturday evening after official closing of election campaigns until the announcement of the presidential election results.

TanzaniaThe National Electoral Commission (NEC) has confirmed 22.7 million Tanzanians to be in the register of those with the right to vote on October 25 out of a population of about 47 million people.

“The police force will not tolerate any groupings that are likely to intimidate people from participating in the elections,” Mangu told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

The police boss made the warning in the wake of a raging debate over whether voters should stay within the radius of 200 meters from polling centres after casting their votes or not.

According to the IGP, security would be beefed up on October 25 during which the registered eligible voters are expected to participate in councillorship, parliamentary and presidential elections.

“Police in collaboration with other security officials will ensure that the country is peaceful during voting, tallying of votes and announcement of results,” he said.

Mangu added: “We will ensure that people are leaving their homes safely and returning back well without any chaos.”

Speaking at separate campaign rallies, opposition leaders have been repeatedly urging their supporters to ensure that they remain within a radius of 200 metres from polling stations to guard their votes, insisting that there was a plot by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to rig votes.

Already, there is a petition pending in court that seeks the court interpretation on section 104(1) of the Tanzania Elections Act that gives the mandate to voters to either leave or stay 200 metres away from the voting centres. The High Court expects to deliver its ruling on Friday.

But,according to the IGP, experience shows that where there is any assembly of people with different political ideologies there was a likelihood of chaos.

The presidential candidate for the ruling CCM, John Magufuli, is facing fierce competition from Edward Lowassa who is contesting on the ticket on leading opposition party-Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA).

CHADEMA is campaigning on a coalition of three other opposition parties of Civic United Front (CUF), National League for Democracy and NCCR-Mageuzi.

The winner of the presidential race will succeed incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete who is completing his two five year leadership terms. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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