NEC spruces up returning officers ready for by-elections

National Electoral Commission (NEC) director Ramadhani Kailima

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THE National Electoral Commission (NEC) has directed returning officers who are scheduled to supervise the forthcoming Byelections to abide by ethics guiding such polls.

The commission’s elections director Ramadhani Kailima (pictured) reminded the latter as they concluded their three-day seminar on Tuesday evening in Dodoma region. The NEC engaged the returning officers and their assistants in the training to get them well prepared to handle the November 26 Byelections in 43 wards this year.

Mr Kailima said the directive was issued taking into account the legal requirements when they perform their duties. “Form Number 10 is for declaration, which is supposed to be recited before the authorised person, that’s why we have directed that this form should be filled before the assistant returning officers at the ward level,” he stated.

In the past, he recalled, there were blunders when the candidates only submitted the forms to the returning officers after filling them on absence of the officers in charge of election, something which was against the law.

He highlighted that there was an attitude that when the contenders sought election forms, they were given form number 8D and 10 which they were carrying them back home. But the proper practice should be filling form number 10 before the returning officer and leave with form number 8D for collecting guarantors’ signatures.

Lushoto District Executive Director, Kazimbaya Makwega noted that NEC’s directive came in the wake of heated debate on how to identify the candidates who cannot read and write.

“With this directive, the candidates for councillorship post who can’t read and write can’t get a chance because they must fill the form in the presence of a returning officer. This is ideal way of identifying unqualified aspirants,” he said.

Commenting on the directive, election officer from Tunduru District, Ruvuma region, Mr Abdul Kasembe, said the instruction will guide the returning officer to know qualifications of the candidate.

“I think this is a good reminder to the returning officers since they are emphasized on ensuring that the candidates have qualification of being able to read and write, I think the move will improve our elections,” he commended.

Urambo District Executive Director, Ms Margaret Nakainga highlighted that already there were councillors who lack the qualification of being capable of reading and writing because during the elections they did not fill the form before officers in charge of elections.

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