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); Elections Act No 1 1985, 4(1)).
Section 4(1)(c) of the Elections Act No 1 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 (Elections Act No 1 1985; Commissions Forum 2000, 21).
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 NEC is responsible for (Constitution 1977, Article 74(6); Kiravu 2005, 3, 4):
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)).
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”. The Director heads up the Secretariat of the Commission which is responsible for executing the decisions of the NEC. The current holder of the position is Mr Rajab R Kiravu (Constitution 1977, Article 74(7); National Electoral Commission 2000, 5).