Thursday, October 29, 2015

CCM’s Magafuli Takes Lead in Tanzania Elections
Ruling Tanzania CCM candidate for president John Magufuli.
October 29, 2015

Dar es salaam. – Tanzania’s ruling party’s presidential candidate appears set to win one of the East African country’s tightest elections, according to preliminary results announced yesterday.

John Magufuli  from the long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) had nearly 59 percent of the votes that had been counted in 143 out of a total of 264 constituencies in Sunday’s election, the electoral commission said.

Opposition candidate Edward Lowassa had nearly 40 percent.

The final results were expected by today.

Five candidates who had been ministers in the outgoing government lost their seats in parliament. They included agriculture minister Stephen Wasira, a prominent CCM politician.

Wasira was defeated by Ester Bulaya, a young female candidate from Lowassa’s Chadema Party, which heads a four-party opposition coalition.

The CCM has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence in 1961. Sunday’s elections were seen as the first time the opposition could win since a multi-party system was introduced in 1995.

Lowassa defected to the opposition in September after the CCM rejected his bid to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete, who was no longer allowed to run for office after serving two five-year terms.

Lowassa is seen as a candidate of the young urban middle class. Public works minister Magufuli campaigned on an anti-corruption drive in a stab at Lowassa, who was forced to resign as prime minister in 2008 after being implicated in a corruption scandal.

Tanzania counts votes amid opposition cries

October 27, 2015

DAR ES SALAAM. — Votes were being counted yesterday in what is expected to be Tanzania’s tightest election race ever, with the governing party set to win presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday despite a challenge to its five decades in power from former prime minister Edward Lowassa, who has voiced concerns the poll may not be free or fair.

Opinion polls and analysts have forecast a presidential victory for John Magufuli, the ruling CCM party’s candidate. But many expect CCM’s parliamentary majority to dwindle after the opposition united behind a single candidate for the first time.

The opposition Chadema party have alleged fraud in Sunday’s presidential, general and local elections. “There are allegations of electoral fraud,” Chadema spokesperson Tumaini Makene told reporters late on Sunday.

Magufuli is seen as the narrow favourite to beat ex-prime minister Lowassa, a CCM stalwart who recently defected to Chadema, which is heading a coalition of opposition parties.

But analysts have warned that the unusually tight race could spark tensions, with the opposition providing the first credible challenge to the CCM since the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1995. While voting passed off largely peacefully, senior Chadema official Mwesiga Baregu told reporters they were concerned at reports of “a number of reported interceptions of stuffed (ballot) boxes”.

The opposition claims could not be independently verified, but Chadema said it was concerned.

“We seem to be heading to results that may not be credible, and therefore might not be accepted not just by political parties, but will not be accepted by the voters themselves,” Baregu said.

Election officials said they expect the results of the presidential race within three days, but some early results are expected to begin arriving yesterday.

Any dispute in the outcome of the election – billed as the tightest race in Tanzania’s post-independence history – could raise tensions in a nation which has been relatively stable since British rule ended in 1961.

Some officials and analysts have voiced particular concern about rising tensions in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, where the opposition had accused the government of intimidation ahead of the polls.

But, voting was broadly peaceful across the East African nation of 47 million people, with a high turnout in many urban areas leading to delays.

Outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete, ordered the police to boost security to ensure calm in the country of 52 million people, of whom 22 million are registered voters.

“Anyone who tries to cause trouble will be dealt with,” Kikwete said at a CCM rally on Saturday. 

No comments: