Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TENSION is mounting across Tanzania, the East African nation after the results of the country’s most competitive election since independence started trickling in from Monday morning this week.

There are reports of widespread riots and heavy police patrols in the streets of big towns and cities as well as in remote trade centres.

 Although no casualties have been reported, there are fears that the riots would degenerate into violence, leading to injuries and possibly deaths.

The situation worsened on Wednesday afternoon after an official announcement by the authorities on cancellation of the Zanzibar presidential election results and  a statement by the opposition coalition presidential  candidate for Tanzania Edward Lowassa that he would not accept the results being announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) since Monday.

He spoke of massive fraud by NEC officials which  he alleges has denied his coalition some votes in favour of the ruling party CCM presidential candidate Dr. John Pombe Magufuli who is in a narrow lead against Mr. Lowassa for presidential vote figures already released.

Mr. Lowassa, the former prime minister who defected to the opposition in July this year after he was blocked from contesting Tanzania’s presidency on CCM’s ticket, has accused the government for using security officers to raid a vote tallying centre set up by the coalition.

He said volunteers hired by the coalition were still locked up and described the move as intimidation against the opposition now giving a strong challenge to the ruling party following the Sunday’s elections.

Arusha, Mr. Lowassa’s home area and a stronghold for the opposition has been tense for a couple of days and the coalition supporters want the international observers to intervene in the impasse on the elections, especially after the cancellation of the Zanzibar presidential vote tallying.

anzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials say they have cancelled the results, specifically the tallying of the presidential votes, on grounds that the process was marred   with irregularities. This, according to observers, could render the elections not free and fair.

As things become more complicated in Tanzania’s polls, Dr. Magufuli was still in the lead ahead of his close rival Mr. Lowassa from Chadema, one of the four parties making up the Ukawa coalition.

 Early results from the parliamentary elections suggested a tight contest between the two parties.

An opposition candidate for Zanzibar presidency Seif Sharrif Hamad  on Monday unilaterally declared himself the winner of the island’s presidential election. Immediately after the announcement, and security agents arrested 191 people during a night raid on the opposition.

Some 23 million Tanzanians were registered to vote and more than half of all voters live in nine major regions of the country, none of which is yet to report fully.
However, Mr Lowassa, who ran under the Ukawa opposition alliance, accused NEC of selectively releasing results from CCM strongholds.

He warned that delays in announcing official results could inflame tensions after the arrests of the party’s tally centre officials.

“All they were doing is collating results from polling stations across the country,” Mr Lowassa said at a press conference on Monday.

“We have been incapacitated, all our tallying centers have been raided and the volunteers incarcerated. This is so unfair.”

The whereabouts of the detainees, reportedly picked up during raids on different facilities in Dar es Salaam between midnight and the wee hours of Tuesday morning, are still unknown.

I also spoke to a law from Tanganyika Law society who explains wether there is a legal complication  to the Union if result have been expelled by ZEC.


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