DAR ES SALAAM. – As the countdown to Tanzania’s general election has begun, the United Nations on Tuesday appealed for the need to respect the will of people and allow them to decide who should be their next leader.
Alvaro Rodriguez, the East African nation’s UN Resident Co-ordinator, said parameters indicated that the October 25 polls will be hotly contested but there was no one who could take away the election from the people.
“The political landscape has been very dynamic, and no one could have predicted what is happening now five months ago,” said Rodriguez.
He said the fierce political contest was characterised by a demographic transition, and what he described as a “bulge of youth” that were mostly unemployed and unfortunately not well educated.
“The youth on the other side are observing that there is a small group reaping the benefits of the current economic set-up. They are now looking forward to express their feelings through the ballot box,” said Rodriguez. He said many societies were struggling with political transitions and noted that Tanzania has been doing well in that front even as most of its neighbours were lagging behind.
He commended Tanzania mainland’s National Electoral Commission and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission for creating a transparent environment which he believed will be maintained to the end, ensuring open and credible elections.
Rodriguez said while the UN and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) were highly interested in the elections and they were working with all stakeholders to see transparent and credible polls, they will invest their resources in projects which will catalyse sustainable development in the country after the elections.
Over 23 million out of a population of 46 million Tanzanians will go to polls on October 25 to elect the president, Members of Parliament and councilors. The presidential candidate for the ruling party — Chama Cha Mapinduzi, 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). -Xinhua.