Tanzania: Electoral observation

Reviewed September 2020

Extracted from: Grant Masterson 2009 "Chapter 13: Tanzania and Zanzibar" IN Denis Kadima and Susan Booysen (eds) Compendium of Elections in Southern Africa 1989-2009: 20 Years of Multiparty Democracy, EISA, Johannesburg, 537-540.

Local and international observation agencies have been welcome in Tanzania since the inception of competitive multiparty elections in Tanzania in 1995. In 1995, invitations to international observer groups were facilitated through the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the NEC processing applicants and approving and accrediting observers (National Electoral Commission 1997). Two local monitoring groups, the Tanzanian Election Monitoring Committee (Temco) and the Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC), were accredited to observe the 1995 elections. The NEC issued all observer groups with guidelines regarding the elections, and was responsible for monitoring compliance with these guidelines. International observer efforts were provided a degree of coordination through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The NEC reported some incidents of partisan monitoring interference, in particular by young members of Temco and the CSSC. These incidents were brought to the attention of the NEC by the relevant electoral staff who were witness to the incidents.

For the 2000 elections, the NEC accepted and accredited local observers from Temco, the Tanzania Youth Forum, the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) and the Elections 2000 Media Monitoring Project to observe the elections. International observation was once again provided with a degree of coordination through the UNDP, which established a Joint Electoral Assistance Secretariat (JEAS) with a staff of seven for the elections, funded primarily through European contributions, which were pooled into a basket fund managed by the UNDP (National Electoral Commission 2001). Not all organisations accredited to observe the elections were comfortable with the arrangement, however: the OAU, SADC and Awepa did not participate in the activities of the JEAS. The NEC declined a suggestion made by the UNDP and the European Union that all international observers to the 2000 elections be coordinated through the JEAS, due to the reluctance of some observer groups.

For the 2005 elections, three local groups were accredited, namely: Temco; the Ecumenical Observer Group (EOG) and Agenda Participation 2000 (National Electoral Commission 2006). The commission introduced observer group briefings for all accredited organisations, highlighting their responsibilities as observers, and clarifying the NEC's instructions to election officials for the benefit of the observer groups. Due to the death of the Chadema vice-presidential candidate, three briefings were held in total; two prior to his passing, and a third briefing to announce the postponement of the elections for that reason. Observers were also familiarised with the NEC's Code of Conduct for Observer Groups at these briefings.

2010 elections

Ahead of the 2010 election the NEC issued "Guidelines for local and international election observers".

2020 elections

In November of 2019, the NEC invited local election observers from institutions and organisations to observe the October 2020 elections. The NEC subsequently issued out the Guidelines for Local and International Election Observers, 2020.

Observer missions and reports

2015: Tanzania: 2015 Election observer missions and reports.

2010: Tanzania: 2010 Election observer missions and reports.

2005: Tanzania: 2005 Election observer missions and reports and Zanzibar: 2005 Election observer missions and reports.

2000: Tanzania: 2000 Election observer missions and the Commonwealth Observer Group 2000: The Elections in Zanzibar

1995: Tanzania: 1995 Election observer missions.

Official website

Tanzanian Election Monitoring Committee (Temco): [www] http://www.temco.udsm.ac.tz/ (accessed 16 Sep 2020).


NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 1997 The Report of the National Electoral Commission on the 1995 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2001 The Report of the National Electoral Commission on the 2000 Presidential, Parliamentary and Councilors' Elections.

NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2006 The Report of the National Electoral Commission on the 2005 Presidential, Parliamentary and Councilors' Elections.

NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2010 "Guidelines for local and international election observers", [www] http://www.tz.undp.org/ESP/docs/Legal_Documents/2010_NEC_Guidelines_for_local-intern_observers.PDF (offline 6 Sep 2020).

Invitation for local observers to observe the General Election, October 2020.