Poll Says Tanzania Election Isn’t So Close After All
Tanzania’s 2015 General Election has been hyped as the most competitive in the nation’s history, but recent poll figures suggest the race is far from close.
The poll shows John Magufuli of the ruling CCM party has more than 60% support, leading his closest challenger, Edward Lowassa, by 40 points. Which means, if the figures are accurate, things won’t be nearly as close as expected when election day arrives on October 25.
An eventful build up
The election has been hyped as the tightest in Tanzania’s democratic history, after the surprise appointment of Magufuli as CCM candidate prompted Lowassa to defect and join the opposition Chadema Party.
Lowassa’s political prowess against the relative inexperience of Magufuli has dressed up the election as a dual, dubbed the defector vs. an accidental candidate by one newspaper.
Public support is reported to have split with sentiment following Lowassa’s defection. However, The CCM has won every single election since it came to power in 1992 and, while the party’s popularity is believed to be fading, the ruling party managed a decisive victory under similar circumstances in 2010.
Questions raised about the data
The poll, released by nonprofit civic group Twaweza, is the only public poll on the election currently available, but opposition spokesman Tumani Makene disputes its accuracy.
He claims Twaweza are “being used” by the CCM and the data collected in the poll is biased towards the ruling party. “[CCM] has been in power for a long time and this is their way of staying in power by confusing people with wrong data,” he said. “And it is trying to effect political legitimacy, which they lost a long time ago.”
Meanwhile, the EU has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to oversee the upcoming Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections. The EU has observed elections in the country for over a decade to “accompany credible, transparent and peaceful elections in Tanzania.”
“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.