Professor Chaligha discusses the management of elections by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in mainland Tanzania and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Zanzibar. The NEC is responsible for registering voters, demarcating constituencies, and conducting voter education. The relationship between the NEC and ZEC is complex in that some Zanzibar residents, who have spent less than three years in Zanzibar, are registered for mainland Tanzania’s elections. Chaligha mentions NEC’s efforts to maintain transparency on election day. For example, all candidates are allowed to place an election monitor at the polling station during voting. Following Tanzania’s constitution, leaders of political parties – including members of Parliament, councilors and ministers – are not permitted to serve on the NEC. In contrast to the NEC, the ZEC does permit political party members on the commission. A major hindrance to the NEC is its reliance on the government for funding. Chaligha proposes an election fund that the commission could call on only for elections.
Amon Chaligha first began monitoring elections at the University of Dar es Salaam for the Department of Political Science and Department of Public Administration. The University had been involved in monitoring elections since its founding in the 1960s. At the time of the interview, Chaligha was an associate professor at the university, where he taught local government and administration and human resource management. Following his experience in monitoring elections, he was asked to join the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania as a commissioner.