The Zanzibaris are taking part in early elections a day before Tanzanians take part in the much awaited polls that are slated for Wednesday 28th October 2020. Locals in Zanzibar will be voting for their President, members of parliament and ward representatives.
According to Zanzibar Electoral Commission, ZEC, those eligible for the early vote include election returning officers, polling center supervisors, police officers and other government officials who will superintend tomorrow’s elections.
This is the first time an election within Tanzanian territory is being held for two days, a move that has left the opposition reading mischief, terming it an electoral irregularity aimed at giving the ruling party undue advantage in the polls.
The polls which opened at 7.00am are expected to close at 4.00pm across all the 50 constituencies in an election pitting the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi and ACT-Wazalendo (Alliance for Change and Transparency-Patriots), which both concluded their campaigns on Sunday.
“Nobody will be allowed to join the voting queue after 4pm, but all voters in the line will have the opportunity to vote irrespective of the time deadline.” Zanzibar Electoral Commission Chair Retired Chief Justice Hamid Mahmoud Hamid told journalists on Monday
Zanzibar Police Commission has assured locals of their security, warning elements hell bent on disrupting the exercise that they will be met will the full force of the law.
But amid this warning, there are reports that violence and chaos have erupted in certain parts of Zanzibar as the advance elections went on. The situation has prompted a quick statement from the United States which is calling for restraint to allow the electoral process to proceed smoothly.
I'm alarmed by reports from Zanzibar and elsewhere of violence, deaths, and detentions. It's not too late to prevent more bloodshed! Security forces must show restraint, and the NEC & ZEC must carry out their duties with integrity. Let's all pray for peaceful, fair elections.
— Ambassador Donald J. Wright (@USAmbTanzania) October 27, 2020
A total of 566,352 eligible voters will take part in the election of the next set of political leaders to lead the island that has a population of 1.3 million.
After voting, the electoral commission has allocated four days for counting and subsequent announcement of the results.