The East African Community (EAC) Election Observation Mission to Tanzania’s 2015 General Elections has been launched with a call on all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful process.
While launching the Mission in on Tuesday, the leader of the observer team and former Kenyan Vice President, Moody Awori says the observer missions can only accompany the process, but Tanzanians themselves will determine how to express their democratic rights.
“The Mission will assess the electoral process based on the United Republic of Tanzania’s national legal framework and its obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements and more specifically, the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community”, H.E Awori said.
The observer team arrived in Tanzania on Sunday 18th October and will be on the ground until 30th October 2015.
It was preceded by a 5 Member Expert Team that has been on the ground since 4th October 2015.
Tanzania’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 25th 2015.
The deployment of the EAC Election Observer Mission is part of EAC’s goal to promote democratic governance to foster total and balanced development of the region in line with the fundamental principles of the Community.
The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community Article 6 (d) requires the Partner States to promote good governance through adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality and protection of human rights.
In addition, Article 3 (3) (b) of the Treaty requires new applicants who wish to join the Community to exhibit adherence to the principles of good governance, democracy and rule of law.
“Most importantly, the East African Community is the only regional organization on the African continent that has a clear vision of attaining a political federation.
This calls for setting regional standards in order to lay a firm foundation for a single Political Authority,” H.E Moody added.
The EAC’s Observer Mission will be conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct, adopted at the United Nations in 2005.
He said the Mission will assess the electoral process based on the United Republic of Tanzania’s national legal framework and its obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements and more specifically, the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The Mission will meet and consult with representatives of diverse stakeholders including political parties, civil society organizations, diplomatic missions, international community, media, as well as with candidates.
The overall objective of the EAC Election Observer Mission is to contribute to the promotion of the conduct of free, fair and credible elections through an environment that is peaceful and stable. The specific objectives include among other tasks; observing the electoral process and to offer a balanced and informed assessment of the elections.
It will also create public confidence in the electoral processes by encouraging the voters and other stakeholders to participate freely in an environment that promotes competition and tolerance without intimidation or violence; and make recommendations for strengthening of electoral processes for the benefit of not only Tanzania but for the EAC region as a whole.
According analysts, Tanzania’s hotly contested 25 October presidential and parliamentary elections could be the closest elections in the country’s history.
Many argue that the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party is likely to lose ground after it made several political blunders yet on the other hand the opposition parties are more united than ever before.
The defection of former CCM prime minister and political heavyweight Edward Lowassa to the opposition has particularly caused discomfort within the ruling party and given an added boost to a more unified opposition.
Story By Catherine Ageno