Five Tanzanians to study U.S. electoral process and observe 2009 U.S. election October 16, 2009 The U.S. Embassy is sending a group of Tanzanian political party officials and an academic to the U.S. to explore the U.S. election system and government. The five-member group is departing for the U.S. on Friday, October 16, 2009 for a three-week study tour, and will be joined by five participants from Uganda. The ten representatives are embarking on a program entitled Good Governance and Elections, which was specially designed to promote dialogue and encourage idea sharing between American, Tanzanian and Ugandan electoral officials and academics in advance of upcoming general elections in the East African nations. Representing Tanzania on the study tour are Hadija Ilyas, CCM Principal Secretary for Organization, Dodoma; John Jingu, Assistant Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Dar es Salaam; Shaweji Mketo, CUF Deputy Director for Organization and Elections; Rabia Mohammed, CCM Principal Assistant Secretary Publicity and Young Pioneers, Zanzibar; and Mwikwabe Waitara, CHADEMA, Senior Officer, Directorate of Research and Policy. According U.S. Embassy acting spokesperson Karen Grissette, the participants will study the dynamics of the U.S. electoral process, meet with elected officials, professors and NGOs engaged in electoral matters, witness the final stages of a 2009 election campaign, and observe a U.S. regional election. Speaking at the U.S. embassy before their departure, Jingu remarked, I expect the program to provide me with insights and first hand experiences on good governance and democratic practices. Ilyas noted, I will get exposure and learn new experiences, knowledge and more ideas that will help me in the coming Tanzania election. While Mketo stated that he expects to learn how elections are conducted in the U.S. in order to return and impart the knowledge gained to other Tanzanians so that they can make an informed choice of candidates and conduct free, fair and peaceful coming elections. The participants will be exposed to importance of citizens participation in the U.S. democratic process, and will observe grassroots citizen action groups activities and how the groups interact with U.S. elected officials to influence political, social and economic change at the municipal, state and national level. The East African participants will learn the role and structure of ethics in government in the United States with an illustration on the principles underlying transparency and accountability. The group will be in Washington, D.C., October 17 22, visit the U.S. House of Representatives, and meet a U.S. Congress staffer on working with constituents and election season activities. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) will reveal its role of campaign finance information disclosure, enforcement of limits and prohibitions on contributions, and overseer of the public funding of Presidential elections. The East African representatives will visit the National Democratic Institute (NDI), which promotes capacity building for democracies overseas; campaign centers in Northern Virginia. At the headquarters for Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee, the delegates will learn the national party organizations fundraising techniques and their political objectives in the coming session. To explore the role of NGOs, the visitors will meet with Running Start, a training program initiative that inspires young women and girls to run for political office and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) to learn its role as a non-profit in increasing voter registration levels among African-American youth. To explore polling and public opinion theories, the group will visit StrategyOne, and strategic consulting firm. The assembly will attend pre-election day events, including election debates and political rallies, in the Northern Virginia area. From October 22-24, the group will travel to Richmond, Virginia to learn about campaign finance disclosure at the Virginia State Board of Elections, which limits financial contributions to candidates to enhance transparency. A meeting has been arranged with the political writers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper to discuss the upcoming gubernatorial campaign. Finally, the delegates will call on the Virginia House of Delegates to learn districting and election rules for the state of Virginia. The travelers then go to Houston, Texas, October 24-29, where, at prestigious Rice University, they will meet Professor Dan Wallach, who served on the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform. He will also describe security concerns related to electronic voting systems. The East Africans will then meet with Professor Robert Stein for a discussion on urban politics and public policy, and the impact of the federal aid system on the electoral trajectories of office holders at both the sub-national and congressional levels. The East African delegates will also call on the Harris County Clerks Office in the United States third largest county for a discussion on election services, including the new voting systems implemented in the 2002 elections. At Green Watch TV (run by Harris Countys Green Party), the delegation will see a demonstration of the use of television to advance green party priorities and provide education to the public at large about environmental issues. The group will meet election candidates currently running for office, and visit Americans in their homes for home hospitality. Finally, the representatives will meet with to Mayor Hilmar Moore, who is the longest-serving mayor in the United States, having assumed his role 60 years ago in 1949. The visitors will head to Americas Pacific Northwest, stopping in Seattle, Washington from October 29 November 4. At the University of Washington, the representatives will meet NEW (National Education for Womens) Leadership, a leadership skills development activity that partners with the Center for Women & Democracy. They will also stop in at Washington CAN, a statewide, grassroots lobbying organization outreach which coordinates action on behalf of social justice and the rights of immigrants. Young Democrats of Washington (YDWA) will explain their programs that encourage young people to active interests in government affairs and involvement in political process. The election experts will end their tour in Portland, Oregon, November 4 7, where they will learn about the Oregon Bus Project, which mobilizes volunteers and activists around the state of Oregon to get citizens involved in issues and candidate election. They will drop by the biweekly Willamette Week newspaper, which produces in-depth stories on politics, local news, and culture. Finally, they will observe the Multnomah County Elections first hand, and be able to comment on the way one American county handles its election day activities. This fully-funded project aimed at promoting dialogue between the people of the U.S., Tanzania and Uganda on election issues is provided by the American people. It is part of overall U.S. Government direct and multilateral assistance to Tanzania of more than 750 billion Tanzanian shillings this fiscal year.