It is D-Day as Tanzania goes to the Polls
Our neighbours will cast their ballot tomorrow and there is everything to care about. The country which is dividend into the two main land masses including mainland Tanzania and the semi-autonomous Zanzibar will be holding their general elections that will include elections for president, legislators and local officials on Wednesday.
Incumbent President John Magufuli who has led the country in an iron fist style kind of leadership is seeking re-election on the mainland among a crowded field of 15 contenders. He will face off against his main challenger Tundu Lissu. His party is the all famous CCM that swept him to power after the successful handover from the President Jakaya Kikwete. He is the candidate of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.
Unlike its East African neighbours, Tanzania has a large voter register of more than 29 million people who will make their choice promptly at 7am from their polling stations.
Tensions and fears of voting irregularities have filled the political space leaving little imagination of what may happen once the results are announced. The police chief has sent his views calling for vigilance and support to the electoral commission.
“….niwatake Tume ya uchaguzi kupitia Wakurugenzi, kupitia wasimamizi wa uchaguzi watimize wajibu wao, niwatake pia mawakala watimize wajibu wao” IGP Sirro#UmojaWetuNdioNguvuYetu pic.twitter.com/tUj1vlx47J
— Police Force TZ (@tanpol) October 27, 2020
In the recent days, the opposition parties have complained of threats and repression as the election commission disqualified dozens of opposition parliamentary candidates, while rights groups accused the government of curtailing free expression and press freedom. The government has previously rejected such accusations. Media outlets have not been left out of the electoral confusion which has seen some being shut down temporarily. In September, Diamond Platnumz’s radio station was taken off air for a week for airing some graphic material. In response, he – Diamond Platnumz – has remixed his popular song Baba Lao to “Magufuli Baba Lao”. Due to fear, there is a lot that can be expected, but also Tanzania is known to be relatively peaceful during elections compared to its East African neighbours like Kenya with the Post Election Violence of 2008, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.
Voting will also be held in the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar, which has a history of contested polls and post-election violence.