Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has been re-elected for a second term by 85 percent majority vote, amid claims of rigging by the opposition, in the polls that were held on Wednesday.
According to the election results announced by the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Semistocles Kaijage, Magufuli received 12.5 million votes while his main challenger, Tundu Lissu of the Chadema party, got 1.9 million votes (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 Semistocles Kaijage.
Tanzania’s main opposition parties, CHADEMA and ACT Wazalendo, on Saturday called for a fresh election and an “endless peaceful demonstration” starting Monday.
The election 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, which have tainted Tanzania’s remarkable history of upholding democratic freedoms.
The US embassy in the East African country said that “Irregularities and the overwhelming margins of victory raise serious doubts about the credibility of the results announced”.
Tanzania Election Watch: Regional Election Observers
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), its member organisation in Kenya, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), and other regional NGOs launched an independent election oversight mechanism on 3 September 2020, in a context of severe restrictions on democratic space in Tanzania.
The Tanzania Election Watch, which comprised of a Panel of Eminent Persons led by three co-chairs Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa from Uganda, Dr. Willy Mutunga from Kenya and Alice Mogwe from Botswana, closely followed the developments in Tanzania ahead of the General Elections.
According to a report by the election watch group, the panel cited a few incidents observed during the election day which dampen the credibility of the electoral process.
“We are concerned that the incidents reported so far in the process bear questions on the credibility of the electoral process,” the watch group said in a statement.
Below are some of the incidents that cast a shadow on the credibility of the 2020 electoral process in Tanzania as cited by the Tanzania Election Watch Group;
- Shutdown of the internet on the 27th of October. Additionally, Twitter reported that it had been shut down in Tanzania on the same day.
- Reported deaths of innocent civilians in Tanzania and mainly in the Islands of Pemba and Unguja.
- Complaints of opposition polling agents being denied from observing voting in polling stations with some reportedly attacked or arrested while exercising their mandate.
- The reported arrests of candidates including Halima Mdee, Upendo Peneza on election day.
- The deployment and participation of the Tanzanian military in an erstwhile civilian process as witnessed predominantly in Zanzibar.
- Mobile service limitations of the free flow of information through short messaging services.