As Tanzania’s President Wins a Second Time period, Opposition Requires Protests

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CAIRO — After a pivotal ballot marred by violence, opposition arrests and accusations of rigging, Tanzania’s electoral fee mentioned late Friday that President John Magufuli had gained a second five-year time period — a transfer that led the opposition to name for peaceable protests on Saturday and urge the worldwide group to reject the outcome.

Electoral observers, each international and home, mentioned that the vote, held on Wednesday, befell amid censorship of political speech that undermined the poll’s credibility and led to widespread fraud and irregularities.

But primarily based on the nation’s Structure, as soon as the electoral fee declares a candidate president, no court has the authority to investigate the vote. Given this, the opposition mentioned that its solely recourse was to hit the streets to demand an election rerun.

“If we settle for this actuality, we’re going to ship the nation right into a one-party system as Magufuli desires,” Zitto Kabwe, the chief of the opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency, or ACT Wazalendo, said on Twitter.

Tanzania, a nation of about 58 million individuals, was as soon as seen as a paragon of stability and a rising democracy in East Africa. However over the previous 5 years underneath Mr. Magufuli, the nation’s fifth president, it made an about-face as he restricted political and civic freedoms and clamped down on the press and human rights organizations.

The win offers Mr. Magufuli a platform to proceed with plans for bold mega-infrastructure tasks, together with reviving the nationwide airline, constructing rail strains and setting up a much-criticized hydroelectric dam. A former chemist and schoolteacher who has additionally held a number of cupboard positions, Mr. Magufuli, 61, gained recognition as “the Bulldozer” for his dealing with of a program to construct roads and for his ways combating corruption. Mr. Magufuli has declared the country “coronavirus free” and has criticized using masks or social distancing practices.

The chairman of the Nationwide Electoral Fee said that Mr. Magufuli had obtained over 12.5 million of the 14 million legitimate votes counted. His fundamental opponent, Tundu Lissu of the Chadema Get together, obtained 1.9 million votes, whereas Bernard Membe, a former international minister representing ACT Wazalendo, obtained simply over 81,000 votes, in line with the Fee.

The governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi social gathering, or Get together of the Revolution, which has dominated Tanzanian politics because the nation secured independence in 1961, additionally gained a majority of the parliamentary seats within the nation’s over 260 constituencies.

But even earlier than the ultimate figures have been introduced, the opposition had already dismissed the outcomes.

Mr. Lissu, who was shot 16 instances in an assassination try in 2017 and only recently returned house, on Thursday referred to as on the worldwide group to dismiss the figures. He mentioned that his ballot brokers had been denied entry to voting cubicles and have been harassed and crushed by safety officers.

“What occurred yesterday was not an election,” Mr. Lissu told reporters. “It was not an election by any measure in anyway, whether or not it’s in accordance with Tanzanian legal guidelines or worldwide legal guidelines.”

The electoral fee has denied accusations of poll tampering and stuffing, and referred to as them unsubstantiated claims.

The ACT Wazalendo social gathering mentioned that 5 of its prime leaders in Zanzibar, together with its chairman, Seif Sharif Hamad, have been arrested on Thursday and some badly beaten. It mentioned that the police had killed 10 individuals and injured 50 others in Zanzibar earlier than and in the course of the elections, and the social gathering documented quite a few circumstances through which its brokers have been denied entry into polling stations, together with cases of prefilled ballots and multiple voting.

Tibor Nagy Jr., the assistant secretary for the U.S. State Division’s Bureau of African Affairs, said on Twitter that he was “involved about reviews of systematic interference within the democratic course of,” and a State Division spokeswoman said that america would maintain “accountable” these chargeable for the “use of power in opposition to unarmed civilians.”

“It has been tragic to see Tanzania, as soon as a promising democracy, slide into autocracy underneath John Magufuli’s management,” United States Consultant Eliot L. Engel, the chairman of the Home Committee on Overseas Affairs, said in a statement.

The Tanzania Elections Watch, an unbiased observer group made up of civil society leaders from japanese and southern Africa, accused the country’s security forces of making “a local weather of concern and intimidation” earlier than and in the course of the polls.

The elections have been additionally marred by social media restrictions, with widespread disruptions in platforms like WhatsApp and Twitter skilled throughout the nation. The authorities additionally directed telecommunication corporations to suspend bulk voice and short messaging services.

Peter Micek, the overall counsel of the digital rights group Entry Now, mentioned that technicians from the Tanzanian telecoms regulator had installed equipment that may enable them to throttle complete networks, block web sites and degrade visitors in order that video or pictures couldn’t be transmitted.

“It seems the regulator rushed to have the expertise in place for this week’s election and the aftermath,” Mr. Micek mentioned in an e mail. Web suppliers, he mentioned, “knew the set up was coming for a number of months however have been notified solely final week of the upcoming set up and had little say within the course of.”

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