Tensions Flare in Tanzania Elections as CCM Claims Early Lead


Tensions reached a new level in the Tanzania election on Monday as official figures put ruling party candidate John Magufuli in the lead.

Magufuli won 10 constituencies in the first round of results, while his closest rival Edward Lowassa of the Ukawa opposition alliance, won three. However, Lowassa has accused the National Electorial Commission (NEC) of selectively releasing results from neighbourhoods known to favour the ruling CCM party.


Figures from marginal constituencies

The figures released on Monday were from marginal constituencies only, leaving plenty of room for a shift in favour of Lowassa. The elections have been built up as the closest in Tanzania’s democratic history, but the fear of a corrupt electoral process always remains.

The ruling CCM party has been in power since the country returned to a multiparty system in 1992, but the same group has effectively ruled since 1961. Popularity for the ruling party has been fading of late though, and former prime minister under the CCM, Edward Lowassa, has made a big impression throughout the campaign process.


Lowassa cries foul play

The opposition candidate has accused the NEC of selectively releasing results from constituencies favourable to the CCM. He also claimed his party’s tallying centres have been raided and volunteers detained with their whereabouts still unknown.

“We have been incapacitated,” the presidential candidate said at a press conference on Monday. “All our tallying centres have been raided and the volunteers incarcerated. This is so unfair.”

The NEC has also been criticised for its delay in announcing the results of semi-autonomous island Zanzibar’s presidential election. Opposition candidate Seif Sharif Hamad claims to have received 200,077 votes to 178,363 for CCM candidate Ali Mohamed Shein.

A win for Hamad would signal the first defeat for the ruling party, but the NEC has failed to release the full results.

“We call on the [NEC] to declare the result without delay, and we call on Dr Shein to end any uncertainty and concede defeat,” Civic United Front (CUF) said in a statement. “The longer the announcement is delayed the more room there is for those who will try to manipulate and change the outcome.”


Featured image:

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 Wikimedia Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.