Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli has been declared the winner of this year’s presidential election held on Wednesday, October 28.
According to Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Chama Cha Mapinduzi candidate garnered 12,516,252 votes with Chadema’s candidate Tundu Lissu coming in second with 1,933,271. The commission said a total of 15,091,950 voters participated in the poll out of the 29,754,696 registered voters.
Magufuli, who assumed office on November 15, 2015, will be awarded the winner’s certificate on Sunday, November 1 in Dodoma at the NEC’s headquarters. The presidential poll that attracted 15 candidates was marred by claims of arrests, restricted access to polling stations, multiple voting, pre-ticking of ballots and widespread blocking of social media.
On Tuesday, Lissu said he would not accept the outcome of the election. He urged countries not to recognise the results of a “travesty” of a poll. “Whatever happened yesterday was not an election, and thus we do not recognise it. We do not accept the result,” Lissu told reporters in Dar es Salaam as he called for mass action. “This is not an election at all. We do not accept, and do not agree, with any results coming from this process…the results should not be recognised by any country in the world, should not be recognised by the African Union and the Commonwealth.” Several groups including Tanzania Elections Watch (TEW) have poked holes in the election saying irregularities witnessed before and during the poll affected its credibility.
The U.S embassy in Tanzania said on Thursday that the allegations were credible. In a statement, the US ambassador to Tanzania Donald Wright urged relevant authorities to come together and address the concerns raised by different parties in the election.
“…in order to restore trust, heal divisions and reinforce respect for the rule of law and good governance,” the statement reads in part. “We call on all parties to refrain from violence and inciteful rhetoric over the coming days and urge authorities to respect the right of Tanzanians to peacefully protest and express themselves.”
Despite the allegations, the electoral commission has maintained that the election was credible The opposition lost key parliamentary seats in this year’s election to the ruling party CCM. Some of those who lost their seats include Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe and ACT Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe.
Even as Lissu cries foul over electoral malpractice, the opposition might never get justice as Section 41(7) of the United Republic of Tanzania Constitution provides that no court of law shall have any jurisdiction to inquire into the election of a presidential candidate once one has been declared by the electoral commission to have been duly elected.