Voters in Tanzania who have lost their voting cards can use their driving licenses or passports to vote in the upcoming general election, the country’s Electoral Commission has announced. In a statement, it said the names on those documents should match with the details of a voter in the voters’ register.
Tanzania’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 28 and President John Magufuli is hoping to secure a second term. His main challenger is opposition candidate Tundu Lissu, who recently returned to Tanzania after seeking treatment in Belgium for almost three years following a shooting incident.
Tanzania’s Magufuli was hailed within and outside the country as embodying the hopes of his people. His early years after 2015 were praised as well but in recent times, he has embraced a more authoritarian approach.
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In fact, since he took office in 2015, the media in Tanzania have been facing censorship with the regular shutdown of newspapers. About a dozen people have also been charged with insulting the president on social media under the cybercrimes law which was passed in 2015.
Last month, Human Rights Watch said that ahead of the October 28 elections, the government has increased its repression of the opposition, activist groups, and the media.
“Instead of upholding the right to free expression at this critical time, authorities have instead adopted measures that raise concerns about the elections being free and fair,” Oryem Nyeko, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch said in a report.
That same month, ten foreign missions in the country issued a joint statement calling for a free and fair election.