‘Fake’ Ballot Papers Discovered in Tanzania Election Poll

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Fresh doubts have been cast on the most anticipated presidential election in Tanzania’s history, as reports emerge of ‘fake’ ballot papers being discovered.

Local media started running with the story on Sunday, reporting the fake ballot papers, marked in favour of ruling CCM candidate John Magufuli, were found in Njombe at around 1.45am.

 

A vehicle full of ‘fake’ ballots

Tanzanian paper Mtanzania said a vehicle transporting the papers was stopped by a group of local youths who demanded the vehicle and its contents be inspected. According to the paper, the group threatened to set the vehicle on fire, at which point its occupants gave in to their demands and called the police.

“After inspection, the vehicle was found to be carrying some boxes belonging to the ruling party,” the paper said. The content of these boxes is rumoured to be the fake ballot papers in question.

 

Increased tension

Tension has increased in what has already been a nervy election process. Rumours of fake ballots quickly spread on social media, throughout voting queues and public transport. Opposition groups have been quick to use the reports as further fuel to condemn the ruling party and the ongoing electoral process. They now claim that fake ballot papers have been sent to numerous polling stations.

“It is good that the ballot boxes were discovered. Our only fear is how many others were not discovered,” one opposition members was quoted as saying.

Njombe’s acting police commander attempted to ease fears, claiming that the truck reported to have been carrying fake ballot papers was in fact transporting t-shirts belonging to the CCM party.

The electoral process has been largely peaceful until now, with isolated incidents of violence and moderate threats – mostly in the capital of Dar es Salaam. Vote counting has been marred with delays and cries of foul play from opposition groups, as results continue to be delayed. Riots have since broken out in parts of the country, as public tension increases, with the view that delays increase the chance of manipulation.

 

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Jakaya Kikwete – Partnerships for Development – World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 – 1” by Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)/Photo by Matthew Jordaan / Mediapix – Jakaya Kikwete – Partnerships for Development – World Economic Forum on Africa 2011. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.