from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – MOUNTING allegations of vote rigging and calls for mass protests by the opposition has left Tanzania on a knife after watershed elections held on Wednesday.
Tundu Lissu and his Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) or Party for Democracy and Progress) made the rigging claims and mobilized mass action following the contentious poll.
They believe the exercise was being manipulated in favour of the incumbent, John Magufuli, who is seeking a second term, and the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM or Party of the Revolution), Africa’s longest-serving ruling party.
A series of statements on social media, apparently posted by the main opposition and its leader denounced the poll as rigged.
CHADEMA claimed “concrete” evidence of ballot tampering orchestrated by National Electoral Commission (NEC). The party also alleged widespread irregularities in the form of preventing polling agents from accessing polling stations
“We urgently call for mass democratic action in retaliation to this shameless election fraud in Tanzania,” Lissu tweeted.
“If this continues, mass democratic action will be the only option to protect the integrity of the election,” the opposition politician added.
There are fears Tanzania could spill into crisis if the opposition went ahead with protests.
Critics accuse Magufuli of being dictatorial and curtailed freedoms since coming to power in disputed polls in 2015. Social media such as Twitter and WhatsApp were blocked on the eve of elections.
More than 29 million voters were expected to cast their ballots.
CCM, which has ruled since 1961, on the contrary seemed upbeat.
“We thank all Tanzanians for choosing the right leaders in the interest of our nation,” the party tweeted.
It also sent its well wishes to Magufuli, who coincidentally turned 61 on Thursday, a day after polls.
According to the Tanzania Elections Law, Article 41 section 7, after results have been announced by the electoral commission, they cannot be challenged in court.
Elsewhere, claims that opposition ACT-Wazalendo candidate, Seif Sharif Hamadin, had won polls in the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar added to the suspense.
He had been arrested briefly on Tuesday during special voting.
Hamadin’s party reported police had killed nine protesters.
– CAJ News