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Tanzania’s governing party to extend 54-year rule

29th Oct 2015
Tanzania’s governing party to extend 54-year rule

By Peter Saramba Ongiri

 

ARUSHA, (AA): While early results indicate that the party that has ruled Tanzania for 54 years will emerge as the official winner, several irregularities in Tanzanian archipelago Zanzibar have thrown a new twist to the weekend’s polls.

Party of the Revolution (CCM) presidential candidate John Magufuli has so far secured 57 percent of the vote while his rival Edward Lowassa took 41 percent.

The country held presidential, parliamentary and local elections Sunday; final results are not expected until Thursday.

According to early figures from the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Magufuli received 2.4 million votes in the presidential race to Lowassa’s 1.7 million.

Election officials said eight ministers had lost their parliamentary seats to opposition candidates.

NEC Chairman Damian Lubuva said that the CCM won 135 seats against the 69 won by the opposition coalition.

 

– ​Zanzibar election revoked

 

Late Wednesday, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission revoked the island’s presidential election due to several irregularities.

The commission’s Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha said in a statement that the Zanzibar presidential election will be held after 90 days from Wednesday.

The decision came a day after the opposition coalition’s candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, declared himself a winner after aggregating the results from all polling stations in the Zanzibar islands.

“Another reason for revoking the results are unlawful decisions of some presidential candidates by declaring themselves winners contrary to the law,” Jecha said.

Apart from unlawful increase in voters, the commission also said that it received complaints from other parties about their agents getting beaten up and being removed from polling stations during the election held on Sunday.

UKAWA Co-Chairman James Mbatia asked the government to revoke all results, including those of the Tanzania mainland.

“How could ZEC revoke only Zanzibar results while it is the same electoral body which oversees the Union’s election in the Island?” asked Mbatia, adding: “It’s obvious any irregularity in Zanzibar would also affect results on the Tanzania Mainland when it comes to the United Republic of Tanzania’s presidential elections.”

Hamad also condemned the commission’s decision, saying it favored the ruling party CCM that allegedly lost the presidential elections in Zanzibar.

“Apart from not considering other stakeholders’ position, the ZEC’s decision is against the law of the land which has no any provision allowing the chairman to revoke election results at any cost,” Hamad said.

This is not the first time that Zanzibar has faced controversial election results. In January 2001, Zanzibar entered into a political crises, leading to several deaths of opposition supporters during mass demonstrations when presidential results showed the ruling party candidate, Amani Abeid Karume, as the winner.

In 2010, Hamad also lost to the current Zanzibar president, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein with a slight margin which led to the formation of a national unity government between the two; Shein became the president, while Hamad held the vice president’s post.

Formed in 1977 in a merger of two postcolonial parties, the CCM has effectively been in power since independence in 1961, making it Africa’s longest-ruling party.

On both the mainland and Zanzibar, where the elections are overseen by the Zanzibar Island Electoral Commission, observers from the EU, African Union and East African Community expressed concerns about transparency.

Both Magufuli and Lowassa campaigned to tackle rampant corruption, improve the country’s infrastructure, education and healthcare as well as secure economic growth.

Six others candidates stood for the presidency but the focus was on Lowassa and Magufuli, who have both served in government for the past two decades.

 

 

[Photo: The opposition coalition presidential candidate, Mr. Edward Lowassa (R), casting his vote in today’s Tanzania general election at his Ngarash village, Monduli district in Arusha region, Northern Tanzania. Watching on is the poling station assistant returning officer, Khadija Ramadhan. Photographer: Ekip/AA]

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