Tanzania: National Electoral commission

Updated August 2020

Article 74 of the 1977 Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania provides for the establishment of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). In terms of Article 74(7) the commission is NEC its independence from other state structures. The statute relevant to the establishment of the NEC is the Elections Act 1 1985 (Kiravu 2005, 3; Constitution 1977, Article 74; Electoral Commissions Forum 2000, 21).


The President of the United Republic of Tanzania has the power to appoint the Chairperson of the Commission, the Vice-Chairperson and five other commissioners according to certain legislative requirements. The Chair and the Vice-Chair have to be judges of the High Court or the Court of Appeal of Tanzania. Either of the two has to come from the other side of the Union ie if the Chair is from the mainland then the vice-Chair has to come from Zanzibar, or vice versa (Constitution 1977, Article 74(1)-(3)).

Section 4(1)(c) of the National Elections Act [CAP 343], 1985 states that the another member of the Commission has to come from the Tanganyika Law Society. Section 4(1)(d) provides for the appointment of four other members who have experience in the conduct or supervision of parliamentary elections, or who have other qualifications considered necessary by the President for the effective performance of the Commission's functions (National Elections Act [CAP 343], 1985; Commissions Forum 2000, 21).


The NEC is responsible for (Constitution 1977, Article 74(6); Kiravu 2005, 3, 4):

  • The supervision and coordination of voter registration.
  • The delimitation of constituencies and other electoral areas.
  • The supervision and coordination of elections.
  • To declare elected Members of Parliament and councillors for women's special seats.
  • Any other functions legislated by Parliament.

Since Zanzibar has its own Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) the Constitution requires that the two bodies consult with one another.

The NEC is responsible for Union presidential, parliamentary elections, as well as local elections, throughout the Union, while the ZEC is responsible for Zanzibari presidential and legislature elections only (Electoral Commissions Forum 2000, 23; Constitution 1977, Article 74(13)).

Terms of Office

The law establishing the Commission provides for the appointment of the seven members for a five-year term (Constitution 1977, Article 74(4); Electoral Commissions Forum 2000, 21).


The seven members of the NEC are (NEC 2020):

  • Justice Semistocles Kaijage (Chairperson)
  • Justice Mbarouk Salim Mbarouk (Vice-Chairperson)
  • Judge Mary H.C.S Longway
  • Asina A. Omari
  • Judge Thomas Mihayo
  • Ambassador Omari Ramadhani Mapuri
  • [Vacant]

Director of Elections and the Secretariat

A Director of Elections is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the commission. The Constitution describes the role of the Director as "its chief executive" and the Director heads up the Secretariat of the Commission which is responsible for executing the decisions of the NEC (Constitution 1977, Article 74(7); National Elections Act, 6(10)). The Director of elections is the Secretary of the Commission and thus performs all functions designated to him by the Commission (National Elections Act, 6(10)).

Staffing, logistics and cost of elections

See Election staff and logistics and Cost of elections


The NEC has produced a report on each election conducted between 1995 and 2005:




ELECTORAL COMMISSIONS FORUM OF SADC COUNTRIES 2000, Tanzania elections Observer Mission Report.

KIRAVU, RR 2005, 3 "Improving elections in Tanzania", IN Improving the quality of election management, a conference of Commonwealth Chief Election Officers, [www] http://www.thecommonwealth.org/shared_asp_files/uploadedfiles/DB8390B7-7B94-4A89- 8FEB-D514F40AEA25_PaperbyMrKiravu.pdf (offline 20 Jul 2020).

NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (NEC) 2020 "NEC Members", [www] https://www.nec.go.tz/pages/organization-structure (accessed 20 Jul 2020).

Official web site

National Electoral Commission: [www] http://www.nec.go.tz/ (accessed 20 Jul 2020).