Magufuli wins another mandate in Tanzania

SANF 20 no 47
President John Magufuli resoundingly won the 2020 Tanzania presidential poll amid indications that the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is poised for a landslide victory.

Tanzanians took to the polls on 28 October to choose a president, members of parliament and ward councillors.

According to final results for the presidential poll announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on 30 October, garnered 84.4 percent of the valid votes cast against 13 percent for his main rival, Tundu Lissu of the main opposition Party for Democracy and Progress, commonly known as Chadema party.

“The commission declares John Magufuli of CCM who garnered the majority of votes as the winner of the presidential seat,” NEC Chairperson Semistocles Kaijage said.

Magufuli won with only 58 percent of the vote during the last presidential election held in 2015.

There was a total of 15 candidates who contested the 2020 presidential poll.

Out of these, only five candidates managed to get at least one percent of the 14,830,195 valid votes cast during the poll.

Beside Magufuli and Lissu, the only other presidential aspirants to get one percent of the votes were former foreign minister and candidate of the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo), Bernard Membe; Leopold Mahona of the National Reconstruction Alliance; and Lipumba Haruna of the Civic United Front.

Lissu has rejected the outcome of the presidential poll, alleging electoral fraud.

He alleged that ballot boxes were tampered with, claiming that his party’s agents were barred from entering polling stations on Election Day to observe the process.

The NEC has dismissed the opposition claims, with Kaijage saying the allegations of fake ballot papers were unsubstantiated.

As well as taking part in the Tanzanian elections, voters on the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar also elected their own president on 28 October, with the CCM candidate Hussein Mwinyi emerging victorious after winning 76 percent of the votes.

His main rival, Maalim Seif Sharif of ACT-Wazalendo got 19 percent.

Voter turnout was 50.7 percent from the more than 29 million registered voters, with over 260,000 votes declared invalid.

No final results have been announced for the parliamentary elections that also took place on 28 October, but indications are that the ruling CCM was poised for a landslide victory after preliminary tally showed on 30 October that it had won around 200 of the 264 contested parliamentary seats that had been announced by then.

The National Assembly of Tanzania, the Bunge, has 393 members of which 264 are elected in single-seat constituencies and 118 are indirectly elected, including 113 women elected by political parties in proportion to their share of the electoral vote, and five members from Zanzibar, two of whom must be women.

Ten members are appointed by the Union president, of whom five must be women, and one seat is reserved for the Attorney General. The Speaker may be designated from outside Parliament and becomes a Member of Parliament by virtue of holding the office of Speaker.

In the outgoing National Assembly, 248 seats were occupied by men and 145 seats by women, for a proportion of 36.9 percent women.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) congratulated Tanzanians “for once again demonstrating their commitment to democracy by exercising their right to vote in a calm and tranquil manner.”

“In particular, SADC congratulates all political parties/candidates and encourage them to consolidate the gains made in the democratic space since the advent of multiparty elections in the country,” said SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Chairperson, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana.

He called on President Magufuli and his government to “closely engage all actors in democracy, governance and politics with a view to implement reforms aimed at improving political engagement and sustain democracy within the United Republic of Tanzania.”

Due to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, SADC was unable to physically deploy its electoral observation mission to Tanzania. It instead consulted the Tanzanian electoral stakeholders virtually.

The East African Community (EAC) observer mission said the elections were conducted in a credible manner and were peaceful.

EAC observer mission head and former Burundian president Sylvestre Ntibantunganya commended Tanzanians for the wisdom they demonstrated during the election period, particularly in safeguarding the country’s peace and security.

“I call on the people of Tanzania, and all candidates, to move ahead in the next steps of the process peacefully,” Ntibantunganya said in a preliminary statement.

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