You have been told to vote! Hollered hip hop artist Witness today at a signing ceremony of the UNDP's 2010 Election Support Project with the Government of Tanzania and the United Nations.
As appetizers in the event, Tanzanian music artists, Mr. Ebbo, Jhikoman and Witness performed at the launch event and encouraged young people to exercise the right to vote.
The 2010 Election Support Project document was signed by the Chairpersons of National and Zanzibar Electoral Committees and by the UN Resident Coordinator.
The signing of the official project document was done by the UN Resident Coordinator, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Hon. Justice Lewis Makame, the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission and Hon. Khatib M. K. Mwinyichande, the Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission.
"The main goal is to further strengthen national capacities for the implementation of free, fair and credible elections with a focus on increasing the capacity of the NEC and ZEC as well as further engaging national stakeholders such as political parties the media and other civil society actors" said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
Also Hon. Bernad Membe, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation marked the occasion by highlighting free elections' role in democracy.
"Well managed, successful elections is not only important for the citizens of this country. It will also contribute to democratic governance and development in our region and for Africa", said Minister Membe.
UNDP's project provides substantial technical assistance to support next year's presidential and parliamentary elections in Tanzania. The support is a complementary initiative to the on-going national efforts to plan and implement these elections. The project will start now to assist the two Commissions and will continue until after the elections, expected in October 2010. The project will help the Commissions plan for and manage some technical needs of the elections process including voter registration, voter education, coordinating election observers, and communications.
A number of project partners are expected to help with education, communication and election observing tasks. The project will include international technical advisors and national experts who will provide technical assistance to NEC and ZEC in the areas such as voter registration, voter education, outreach to women and young people, training and communications. Small grants to community groups may be used to help with voter education.
The project will be managed directly by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP. Funding for the project is provided by the UNDP and other donor partners. To date they are: Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the European Commission.
The project builds on earlier UNDP support to NEC and ZEC (the Deepening Democracy Project) and on the experience of the 2005 UNDP Election Support Project.