Tanzania is an “independent” country and will not be “intimidated”, the ruling party said on Saturday after the US expressed concern about the conduct of 70 recent by-elections. The US on Wednesday cited “election violence and irregularities” aimed at the opposition after local elections were held on Sunday to replace officials who had either resigned or died. “Credible accounts of election violence and irregularities include refusal by National Election Commission authorities to register opposition candidates, intimidation by police of opposition party members, unwarranted arrests, and suppression of freedoms of assembly and speech in the lead up to the by-elections,” the US said in a statement.
Articles about voting issues in the United Republic of Tanzania.
The United States said it was concerned about accounts of violence and intimidation in the run-up to Aug. 12 by-elections in Tanzania. Tanzanian opposition leaders have complained that tolerance for dissent has diminished rapidly since President John Magufuli took office in 2015 on pledges to reform the East African nation’s economy and crack down on corruption. The U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam cited “credible” accounts of violence and irregularities ahead of the by-elections.
The ruling party candidate in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Zanzibar was declared the winner in a re-run of presidential elections boycotted by the opposition. The incumbent Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein, of the national ruling CCM party, won 91.4 percent of the votes in Sunday’s ballot, the electoral body said after it annulled the initial poll in October that the opposition said it had won. In October, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) called for a re-run citing fraud, a charge the opposition said was made up.
Zanzibar is preparing for an election rerun Sunday, after polls were nullified in the region last year. But the main opposition party is urging a boycott, and problems with ballot papers are causing many to wonder how a rerun will result in a better electoral process. Three days after Tanzanians cast their ballots in national elections last October, Zanzibar Electoral Commission Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha announced he would be annulling the island’s elections and holding new ones due to “violations of electoral law.” The opposition has dismissed these claims.
The Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Director, Mr Salum Kassim Ali, has said preparations for the upcoming re-run elections on March 20 are on top gear. Mr Ali said here that they were prepared to make sure that the polls would be free and fair and past irregularities would not recur. “We have been moving on well and doing everything possible to ensure that the elections are free and fair. All the mistakes which led to the nullification of the October 2015 polls will be avoided,” he insisted.
After a long period of negotiations, it was announced on Friday that Zanzibar will hold a re-run of elections on 20 March. The news was accompanied by a deployment of security forces in the semi-autonomous archipelago and was greeted with anger by many on the streets of the capital. “We have been cheated,” exclaimed one resident of Stone Town. “They will be here up to the 20 March, there is no freedom in Zanzibar,” said another. The decision comes three months after elections in October 2015 were controversially annulled by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission chairman, Jecha Salim Jecha, who claimed that there had been irregularities. The Tanzanian army had a strong presence in Stone Town and had surrounded the Commission.
Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman Jecha Salim Jecha has announced the date for a rerun of Zanzibar election as March 20 despite resistance from the main opposition Civic United Front, which insists that it will boycott such a poll. Mr Jecha said the decision was reached by ZEC in its meeting on January 21. “I call on leaders of political parties and the general public to continue to observe peace during this reparation time, on the voting day, during tallying and on the day a winner will be declared,” said Mr Jecha in a televised announcement.
The president of Zanzibar said on Tuesday that a re-run of the vote for a new leader of the islands, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, would go ahead despite calls by the opposition to scrap the plan. Zanzibar’s leader Ali Mohammed Shein did not announce a date, which will be set by the election commission. It is expected to take place in February. Tanzania has been one of Africa’s most politically stable nations but Zanzibar has been a hotbed of opposition to central government, with strong secessionist and Islamist voices. Votes on the islands are usually closely fought and often disputed.
Up to 50 women in Zanzibar have been divorced for taking part in the recent Tanzanian elections against the wishes of their husbands, according to lawyers and women’s rights campaigners. Mzuri Issa, coordinator of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) in the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, said 47 women were divorced for voting contrary to their husband’s orders in a tightly fought ballot that remains undecided. Issa added some women did not take part in the election for fear of being divorced or for fear of violence, while others complained that they were forced to cast ballots for candidates they did not support. The divorces were confirmed by the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZFLA) and the Mwanakerekwe district Kadhi court in Zanzibar. “Some of the women were not allowed by their husband to vote but those who refused to see their right trampled on were either divorced or abandoned,” Issa told reporters.
Tanzania: In Zanzibar, democracy, peace and unity are at stake after annulled elections | The Washington Post
Tanzania held its fifth multi-party elections Oct. 25. Ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, Party of the Revolution) will retain the presidency, with candidate John Magufuli winning 58.5 percent of the vote. Elections in Tanzania, though, are made up of two sets of elections. In addition to voting for Tanzanian presidential and parliamentary offices, the semiautonomous archipelago Zanzibar has its own president, legislature and electoral body — the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC). While pre-election polls showed that CCM was likely to stay in power in Tanzania’s mainland, signs pointed to a potential opposition victory in Zanzibar. Observers initially praised the elections as the smoothest in Zanzibar’s tumultuous history, but there was a sharp turn Wednesday morning. ZEC Chairman Jecha Salum Jecha unilaterally announced that Zanzibar’s elections would be annulled. The headline for this post draws from a statement by the Commonwealth observer team shortly after the results were annulled, pleading for a speedy resolution because “democracy, peace and unity in Zanzibar are at stake.” As rumors spread and tensions rise, this post sheds light on the events leading up to the announcement to annul Zanzibar’s election and the aftermath.
A string of small bombings on the island of Zanzibar has residents there fearing that the explosions could be related to last month’s disputed election and that more trouble could be coming. Early Sunday, a small homemade bomb exploded near Stone Town, a popular tourist destination known for its labyrinthine streets and teeming bazaars. On Saturday, two similar bombs went off. On Friday, an undetonated bomb was found with a cellphone. The police said there were no injuries from any of the explosives. Still, many residents and foreign embassies were concerned. Britain issued a travel advisory that read: “Violence could escalate quickly. If you’re in Zanzibar, avoid being out on the streets and avoid traveling into the center of Stone Town.”
Tanzania’s ruling party candidate has been declared the winner of a controversial presidential election marred by claims of vote rigging and fears of violence. John Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his track record as works minister, won 58.46% of the vote, compared with 39.97% for his main rival, Edward Lowassa. “I duly declare John Pombe Magufuli to have been duly elected president of the United Republic of Tanzania,” the head of the electoral commission, Damian Lubuva, said on Thursday. Lowassa has refused to recognise the result, alleging that the electronic system used to count the votes had been manipulated. “We refuse to accept this attempt to rob the citizens of Tanzania of their democratic rights, which is being done by the national electoral commission by announcing results which are not the actual results.
Major election complications cropped up on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar on Wednesday, and the main opposition party on the mainland called for a recount as Tanzania’s election limbo stretched into its third day. Observers had predicted that Sunday’s elections would be the closest and possibly most troubled in Tanzania’s history. Tanzania is considered one of the most peaceful nations in Africa, led by essentially the same political party since independence more than 50 years ago. But many Tanzanians are growing tired of that party, and already there have been worrisome signs. Ballot papers were burned by a mob in western Tanzania on Sunday. On Monday, opposition officials said scores of their volunteers were arrested.
Main opposition candidate Edward Lowassa has rejected the results of Tanzania’s presidential election, citing alleged fraud. Lowassa told reporters Wednesday in Dar es Salaam that results from the opposition coalition’s tallying unit showed the opposition leading the vote count before police raided the unit Monday. The opposition Chadema party, part of the coalition, said police detained 40 of its volunteers who were tallying results. The police commissioner said the arrests were based on “violations of electoral procedures.” There was no immediate comment from the ruling CCM party.
Tanzania’s main opposition party said on Tuesday it did not recognize results announced so far from a weekend presidential and parliamentary election due to “widespread rigging”, after a broadly peaceful vote that the ruling party said it won. Tanzania has been one of Africa’s most politically stable nations, ruled for half a century by the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party despite the CCM president being changed often. But Sunday’s vote was the most hotly contested in CCM’s history. The opposition has often complained about abuses in past votes, but this challenge carries more weight because Chadema and other major opposition parties have united in a coalition for the first time, fielding a single presidential candidate. Full and final results are not expected until Thursday.
Zanzibar’s electoral commission on Wednesday annulled elections on the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago citing “violations of electoral law”. Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman Jecha Salum Jecha, in a statement broadcast on public television, said the polls on the Indian Ocean archipelago were “nullified” and must be carried out again. Jecha alleged violations including double-voting and cheating. Tanzania’s ruling party presidential hopeful held a narrow lead Wednesday with around half the votes counted in the country’s tightest ever election. With 133 of 264 constituencies having released results on the third day of counting in east Africa’s most populous country, John Magafuli of the long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) had won 56.51 percent of votes.
The police fired tear gas and opposition leaders said dozens of supporters were arrested Monday in Tanzania as votes were slowly tabulated from the presidential election over the weekend. Many observers, foreign and domestic alike, said this election was going to be the tightest and most turbulent in Tanzania’s history. The nation holds a special place in Africa as one of the most peaceful on the continent. But this time, a well-financed opposition coalition is challenging the governing party’s decades-long lock on power, and some Tanzanians have been fearful about the result. On Monday evening, the governing party’s candidate, John Magufuli, a chemist and minister of public works, was leading Edward Lowassa, the most popular opposition figure, by a ratio of nearly two to one, according to preliminary results from a small number of constituencies.
The front-runner in Tanzania’s presidential race appears to be John Magufuli, candidate for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has dominated politics in the country since the 1960s. But he faces a stiff challenge from the main opposition parties who have rallied round former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who recently defected from the CCM to the opposition CHADEMA. This is the first time the opposition have united behind a single candidate. The four parties in the opposition coalition are CHADEMA, NCCR-Mageuzi, Civic United Front (CUF) and the Union for the People’s Constitution.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete dismissed opposition accusations on Wednesday that his CCM party planned to rig a presidential vote next week and warned against violence ahead of the Oct. 25 elections. Addressing a rally in the administrative capital Dodoma, Kikwete accused the opposition of stoking unrest before the parallel presidential, parliamentary and local government polls. “Anyone who participates in violence during the elections will be dealt with,” said Kikwete. “Our security forces will ensure that the elections are peaceful … we will never allow our democracy to be kidnapped.”
The Mayor of Haaspalu constituency here, Mr Umas Sukles, has appealed to Tanzanians to ensure the October 25 general election is held in a democratic manner for the good of the nation. He made the call here when addressing Tanzanian journalists touring the country. “There is also need for Tanzanian politicians to accept election results once they are defeated,” he said, adding that the majority of politicians have tendencies of not wanting to be out of government leadership even once they have been defeated in elections.