PRESS RELEASE ON OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF THE 2019/2020 CSOs ELECTION MANIFESTO

1.0) Introduction

We Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from across the United Republic of Tanzania under the coordination of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), have jointly prepared a CSOs Election Manifesto that will serve for the 2019 Local Government Elections and the 2020 General Election. This election manifesto is a continuation of the CSOs Election Manifesto we released in the year 2015.

It should be noted that, over the past Fifty (50) years, Civil Society Organizations have made significant contributions to acquiring and advocating for social justice; the provision of social services such as education and health services; and national development in general. Other core services that CSOs have been providing include voters education, election management as well as the classification of key Civil Society Organizations’ priorities in various elections in the country.

This success has been a result of the strengthened relationship between Civil Society Organizations and decision-making bodies such as the Central Government, Local Government, the Judiciary, the Parliament, and other law enforcement agencies including our Police force.

Civil Society Organizations have been an important contributor to the promotion of community development, through various initiatives to empower young people and women economically and to also help special groups achieve the desired goal of inclusive development. Civil Society Organizations have continued to provide community development services at lower costs and sometimes using volunteer resources. Also, the provision of free health education, the fight against communicable diseases, bad customs and cultural practices for young people, special groups and children.

There are organizations that have been able to empower young people to invest economically in small income-generating projects and through these projects, a large number of young people have benefited from the jobs provided by such organizations.

In order to ensure that the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania can identify electoral priorities in the 2019 and 2020 elections, Civil Society Organizations decided to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto and subsequently develop a new manifesto for the 2019 local government elections and the 2020 General election.

1.1) Objectives of the CSOs Election Manifesto:
The main purpose of this CSOs election manifesto is to help Tanzanians identify the key priorities they will use to choose qualified leaders and to put those priorities in simple language to convince candidates to carry them out as their pre-election and post-election agenda.

Other objectives of the notice include:
i. Provide guidance to governments, political parties, candidates, voters and leaders who will win elections to recognize the legal, social, democratic and so on in fulfilling their obligations for the benefit of the nation and all its people.

ii. Provide guidance to Civil Society Organizations across the country so they can realize their role and responsibilities in elections and thus be fully engaged in a variety of activities including providing education about citizenship, monitoring voter registration exercise and the general voting exercise.

2.0) Evaluation of the Implementation of the 2015 CSO Election Manifesto:
In 2015, Civil Society Organizations set four key priorities in their Election Manifesto, including the New Constitution, National Economic Policy, Public Resource Management and Human Rights and Good Governance. According to the CSOs’ assessment, it has been observed that, during the last Four (4) years, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in collaboration with various stakeholders including political parties and CSOs, has fulfilled its responsibilities.

These achievements include: –
i. Improving education by reflecting the status of low-income earners. For example the implementation of a free education policy for public primary and secondary schools.

ii. Improvement of health care services including building or expanding various health facilities in the country.

iii. Protection and effective management of public resources. This has also contributed to increase of domestic revenue collection from a variety of sources.

iv. Initiation and development of large-scale economic projects which are more efficient (unlike other years). These strategic and economic projects include the construction of a modern railway, the expansion of the Dar es Salaam airport, purchase of aircraft and the establishment of international air flights, road construction and other infrastructure such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) etc.

However, despite of these achievements, several shortcomings have been identified. These shortcomings include the enactment of draconian laws against some basic human rights; and, some administrative declarations such as the directive not to allow pregnant girls to proceed with school after childbirth, challenges in making payments to victims of various government-implemented projects, laws that affect civic space. In addition, the Government’s suspension and decision not to proceed with the constitutional making process has continued to be a major challenge in the efforts of the citizens to seek real change.

Other challenges include the increase of incidences of human rights violations in the country; the shrinking of the freedom of expression through the restriction of freedom of information (Prohibition of live coverage of Parliamentary sessions) and the restrictions on journalists and Internet service providers through various laws; violations of political rights; and restrictions on freedom of association and advocacy work in the country. These are some of the challenges that, despite of many achievements of the fifth phase government, they have continued to remain very challenging and they depict a negative image to our nation internally and abroad.

3.0) CSOs Election Manifesto 2019/2020
Civil Societies (CSOs) are planning to conduct a launching session of their second 2019/2020 CSOs Election Manifesto following the first Manifesto that was issued in the year 2015. This launching is planned to take place at Kisenga Hall LAPF Building, Kijitonyama – Dar es Salaam, from 01:00 pm.

As it has been explained earlier, the main aim of the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto is to enlighten on the CSOs relevant priorities and key issues about “The Tanzania we Want” through the election process. It generates from the recommendations drafted from the Human Rights Defenders’ meeting that was first held on the 24th July, 2015. The main objective of the meeting was to evaluate the position and the roles of CSOs in the democratic process including minor and elections. The meeting resulted to a development of a team that would sit on behalf of all CSOs to develop the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto. The manifesto was finally developed and was used during the 2015 and even post elections.

As it has been in the previous manifesto, the main objective of the current manifesto is to provide enlightenment towards political parties, election candidates, National Electoral Council (Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland), safety bodies, the government, CSOs and the general public on their peaceful participation in the 2019 local government election and the 2020 general election so as to reach their goal of electing the leaders they want.

However, this second CSOs Election Manifesto has been drafted from the recommendations kept forward during the meeting of CSOs representatives from all over the country that was conducted on 4th July 2019. The main objective of the meeting was to evaluate the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto. During the evaluation, several matters were considered to be the success of the implementation of the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto. These matters are further considered in the current 2019/2020 election manifesto. However, there are several challenges that CSOs members discovered during the implementation of the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto and it was further reconciled that the challenges are to re-considered and included in the 2019/2020 CSOs Election Manifesto.

Due to the success and challenges resulted from the implementation of the 2015 CSOs Election Manifesto, CSOs have kept forward 10 main priorities for the 2019 local government election and the 2020 general elections in the current 2019/2020 CSOs Election Manifesto.

Due to the fact that Tanzanian CSOs Directors have always built a society on the foundations of freedom, justice, brotherhood and peace, they have decided to draft the Manifesto on behalf of CSOs and the general public with the aim of ensuring that the 2019 local government elections and 2020 general elections are conducted in accordance with the law and will of the people and also to ensure that Tanzania is governed by a government based on the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance.

4.0) CSOs Participation in elections
It should be remembered that CSOs sector has a great contribution in the democracy process, especially in the elections that are conducted in our country. For instance, during the 2015 election, CSOs participated in many ways including offering assistance to Tanzanians by enlightening 3 priorities that were used in electing their leaders.

The responsibilities of CSOs in elections are divided into three main categories: First, the various pre-election activities; Second are the tasks performed during the election; and lastly, the post-election activities.

CSOs participate in a variety of pre-election activities such as providing education to voters, follow-up and monitoring of the improvement of voter’s registration book, conducting election campaigns and preparing public voting ballots. During elections CSOs continue to perform various functions such as oversight in the voting exercise, the counting exercise and in the announcement of the results. After the elections CSOs are responsible for various tasks including resolving electoral disputes, conducting assessments and reporting on election assessments.

In the process of doing all this we have grown to see CSOs experiencing various challenges in their participation in elections. Some of these challenges include the absence of a few CSOs participating in elections and the lack of sufficient resources to participate in elections. Also, some CSOs have had limited leadership capacity to participate in various functions in elections.

However, there have been legal and policy challenges that undermine the independence and participation of CSOs in the election process.

5.0) Our Call
Towards the launch of the 2019/2020 CSOs Election Manifesto, Tanzanian CSOs together would like to call on the following;

i. We invite the public to read the CSO Election Manifesto to be launched tomorrow 28 September 2019 and demand that the core issues contained in the Manifesto be worked out by Political Parties, candidates and other electoral stakeholders. Citizens are key
stakeholders in the 2019 Local Government elections and the general election is expected to take place in 2020. So, they are invited to take part in the inaugural CSOs launch meeting to be held tomorrow in Dar es Salaam in Kisenga hall, LAPF Building, Kijitonyama Dar es Salaam.

ii. Various leaders and stakeholders from political parties are encouraged to participate in this important event. Among other things, they should include the interests of CSOs and
citizens in their election manifesto.

iii. Officials from various government and institutions including Election Supervisors (Electoral Commissions (NEC and ZEC) and PMO-RALG) should continue to take into account the recommendations presented in the Manifesto because by doing so, the elected leaders will be obliged to follow that in accordance with the interest of the general public.

iv. The media and journalists are being asked to appear in the event and publicize information about the manifesto in a professional manner to enable the public to gain accurate and timely information so that we can make free, fair elections and in accordance with the Constitution of the United Republic Tanzania and other laws for the future of our nation.

v. Religious leaders should continue to preach peace to their believers and refrain from making statements that favor a particular candidate or party on their places of worship and on the public forums. However, they can provide counseling or citizenship education to their believers and the nation without relying on any ideology and in accordance with established laws and procedures. Similarly, religious leaders should warn and raise their
voices against any kind of violation of law by believers or electoral officers, as well as to denounce all actions that will cause violence and breach the peace of our country.

vi. Among other things, civil society organizations should closely monitor all stages of the electoral process including improving the voter’s registration book, campaigning,
citizenship and voting education and encourage citizens to participate fully in all electoral processes. Thus, stakeholders in the CSOs are asked to participate actively in tomorrow’s launch of the policy to begin to understand their roles and responsibilities throughout the
election process.

vii. Given the challenges that arose in 2015, including the lack of funding to fully participate in the elections, CSOs should prepare in advance for resources and make other legal
processes so that they can participate in the upcoming elections fully.

Issued on 27th September, 2019.

By:

Tanzania CSOs’ Directors Forum

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