Elections plunge Tanzania into conflict

Tanzania President, His Excellency John Magufuli

from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) TENSIONS have gripped Tanzania in the wake of contentious polls that retained President John Magufuli in power.

Magufuli won the election with an overwhelming 84,4 percent.

His main challenger, Tundu Lissu, secured 13,04 percent of the vote. The rest of the votes were divided among 13 other candidates.

However, the opposition parties, mainly the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA or Party for Democracy and Progress) and Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT) have rejected the outcome as rigged in favour of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM or Party of the Revolution) candidate.

According to Tanzania’s laws, poll results cannot be challenged in court.

Streets protests were organized for Monday but met by crackdown by police.

Among those arrested Freeman Mbowe, chairperson of CHADEMA and other prominent politicians including Isaya Mwita, the former mayor of Dar es Salaam, and ex-legislator, Godbless Lema.

“Today (Monday) we are protesting not only for the election to be re-run, but also for all the criminals who tortured and killed people in Zanzibar and the mainland (Tanzania) to take legal action,” ACT stated.

Crackdowns were also reported in the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar.

Donald Wright, the United States (US) Ambassador to Tanzania, said reports of arrests of opposition leaders were “extremely concerning.”

“I urge the government to ensure the safety and security of all opposition leaders, cease these targeted arrests, release detainees, restore telecommunications, and afford due process under the law to all citizens,” the envoy said.

The ruling party is meanwhile preparing for Magufuli’s swearing-in, scheduled for Thursday in the capital, Dodoma.

In his acceptance speech, Magufuli appealed for unity.

“This (election) is a sign of political maturity. Congratulations, politics is not war. Politics is not a quarrel. We are all Tanzanians,” he said.

Critics accuse Magufuli of being dictatorial since assuming power in 2015.

He banned political gatherings. Some media critical of his government were closed.

Ahead of polls, the opposition decried crackdowns.

Social media such as Twitter and WhatsApp were blocked.

– CAJ News

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