President John Magufuli has won a resounding election victory with 84 percent of the votes, while the Chadema party candidate Tundu Lissu, won only 13 percent of the vote. Opposition parties have rejected the early results of Tanzania’s presidential and parliamentary election, saying the vote was illegitimate due to widespread fraud.
Tanzania’s National Election Commission (NEC), said late on Friday, that President Magufuli received 12.5 million votes in Wednesday’s election or 85 percent, while his main challenger, Tundu Lissu, of the Chadema party, got 1.9 million votes, or 13 percent.
“The commission declares John Magufuli of CCM [Chama Cha Mapinduzi] who garnered the majority of votes as the winner in the presidential seat,” said commission chairman Semistocles Kaijage.
Voter turnout was 50.7 percent from more than 29 million voters, with over 260,000 votes declared invalid.
No final results were given for the parliamentary results however Magufuli’s ruling CCM had earlier won all but two seats, with around 200 of 264 parliamentary seats announced.
Tanzanian opposition cries foul
Tundu Lissu, 52, was one of 14 candidates that challenge President John Magufuli, 60, in the presidential election alleged on Thursday there were irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing in Wednesday’s vote. He has called on supporters to protest peacefully.
“We will not accept anything coming out of yesterday’s voting because it was marred by irregularities at all stages, ” Lissu said.
While, the leader of the opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo), Zitto Kabwe, said there were reports of fraud from constituencies across Tanzania, and party workers had found thousands of ballot papers and large numbers of returning officers’ statements of results that appeared to have been filled in before the vote. One bag was seized when it fell off a lorry.
“It was not an election, and the people of Tanzania will pay the price. The international community should not recognise this election or the legitimacy of the government” he said.
The election took place with little monitoring from foreign observers and most international media were unable to gain accreditation to cover voting on the mainland.
There was a strong military presence at polling stations across the Zanzibar archipelago. Reports from opposition strongholds described attacks on civilians. Over 10 people were reported dead following riots. Police, meanwhile, have denied their involvement.
The US Embassy in the East African country said in a statement that the Wednesday vote was marred by allegations of arrests of candidates and protesters, restrictions on agents of political parties to access polling stations, multiple voting, pre-ticking of ballots and widespread blocking of social media.
The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has governed Tanzania since independence in 1961, and is the second longest-ruling party in Africa. President John Magufuli swept into power in 2015 with a promise to end corruption and expand infrastructure.
Many across Africa have watched in dismay at what they’ve described as Tanzania’s abandonment of its reputation of democratic ideals under populist President John Magufuli. His strong-handed governing style has been strongly criticised, with human rights groups and opposition parties accusing Magufuli of increasing repression ahead of the polls and intimidating political rivals.