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Tanzanian President wins election amid fraud allegations

The President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, votes in the presidential elections held last Wednesday.Xinhua via Europa Press / Europa Press

The current president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has been re-elected to office this Friday after winning 84.39% of the vote in the presidential elections held last Wednesday, according to figures provided by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). The main opposition leader, Tundu Lissu, who obtained 13.03% of the ballots, has denounced the existence of massive fraud. “This has not been an election, but the work of a band that has decided to remain in power at all costs,” he said in a statement.

The resounding victory of Magufuli, nicknamed Tingatinga (the bulldozer, in Swahili language), it was already suspected from the day after the elections since the NEC made public the results of the legislative elections, which were held at the same time as the presidential ones. The ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), has also won a landslide victory after scrutinizing 200 of the 264 constituencies into which the country is divided. The opposition Chadema only gets two seats for now, losing representation in many of its historical fiefdoms.

Tundu Lissu, who cannot appeal the result of the presidential elections because this mechanism is not contemplated in Tanzanian legislation, has called on his supporters to “democratic and peaceful” demonstrations to protest what he considers “an electoral fraud of an unprecedented magnitude. ”And has asked for the support of the international community. “Democratic change is not possible in Tanzania” denounced the opposition leader, who survived a savage attack in 2017 when he was hit by 16 bullets after being machine-gunned in front of his home.

In the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, which has its own president and parliament, the MCC candidate Hussein Mwinyi has also won widely with 76.27% of the vote.

The United States Embassy in Tanzania has expressed its “serious doubts about the credibility of the results.” through a statement posted on your Twitter profile after the first partial data was published. The diplomatic legation speaks of “credible allegations of significant fraud and intimidation” made by the opposition, civil society groups and election observers, including “arrests of candidates and protesters, restrictions on the ability to access the polling stations of the representatives of the political parties, repeated votes, ballots marked in advance and generalized blocking of social networks ”.

John Magufuli, who has just turned 61 and was Minister of Public Works for two decades, was characterized in his first term by his fight against corruption and public waste. This year he aligned himself with Trump and Bolsonaro in denying the covid-19 pandemic and, showing off his most populist side, this fervent Christian proposed to his citizens more prayers and fewer masks to face the pandemic, whose real impact It is difficult to assess because the Tanzanian government has not provided data since April. Likewise, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have denounced the climate of repression in which opponents and journalists live, which has been increasing in recent years.