Introduction and Background
Since its establishment in 1964, the Department of Political Science (later Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es salaam) has been carrying out the dual function of observing and doing research on elections in Tanzania. The 1990 elections were the last elections to be observed by the Department on her own. Following the introduction of multi-party political dispensation the Department decided to create a unit dedicated to research on democracy and civic education to Tanzanians. This was meant to assist in the introduction and consolidation of democracy in Tanzania. The unit Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania (REDET) was founded in 1992. Shortly thereafter, it was decided that the Department led by REDET should pool her resources together with other organizations to effectively monitor the first multi-party elections in 1995.
Election observation plays an important role in promoting transparency and accountability, as well as enhancing trust in electoral processes and outcomes. Election observers help build public confidence in the honesty of electoral processes and can help promote and protect the civil and political rights of the electorate and contestants. If carried out professionally and objectively, election observation can lead to the correction of errors or irregularities even while an election processes is still under way. Moreover, it can deter manipulation and fraud or expose such problems if they do occur. If observers issue positive reports, election observation build trust in the democratic processes and enhances the legitimacy of the government that emerges from the election.
Genuine democratic elections, are expressions of people’s sovereignty that need to be observed by non-partisan election observers. The Tanzania Electoral Processes Observation (TEPO) project will support genuine democratic elections and strengthening of the democratic institutions through election observation in Tanzania, including Zanzibar. The current program, henceforth, is set out to observe the Tanzania 2020-2021 electoral processes. The program duration is approximately nine months covering the period July 2020 to April 30, 2021.
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