Magufuli of governing party wins Tanzania presidency

Governing Party CCM’s John Magufuli becomes Tanzania’s new president, as police carry out arrests in Zanzibar following vote annulment

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A Tanzanian woman walks past a billboard for the ruling party's presidential candidate John Magufuli, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on October 26 2015

Tanzania's governing party's candidate, John Magufuli is declared the winner of the presidential elections, according to official results by the National Election Commission (NEC) announced on Thursday.

John Magufuli of the long-governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Party won 58 percent of the votes, while his main rival Edward Lowassa of the opposition Chadema Party won 40 percent.

The National Electoral Commission Chairman Damian Lubuva made the declaration at a news conference and dismissed the complaints of the opposition concerning the process of counting and demand for a recount.

Lubuva said that "since John Pombe Magufuli of the CCM Party got the highest number of votes ... I hereby officially declare that he has been elected as president," and added that the turnout was 67 percent of the 22.75 million registered voters.

Security forces surrounded the election result centre of the island on Tuesday against any possible violence.

According to an AFP reporter, shots were heard at night and the streets were empty, many shops were closed on Wednesday, because people were afraid to go out.

Despite some minor problems, international observes from different international organisations such as the European Union and African Union, generally praised the election on Sunday.

African Union Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma applauded Tanzania for carrying out the elections, but also warned candidates to "think of their country above all other interests."

Zanzibar elections

Meanwhile, after the elections were annulled on Wednesday in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, the police arrested several young people who blocked the roads during protests.

"We arrested several suspects on Wednesday night at two separate areas in Zanzibar when some youths started gathering on the streets and blocked roads after the Zanzibar electoral body announced the nullification of the presidential election," Zanzibar police commissioner Hamdani Omar Makame told Reuters.

Makame did not an exact number for people arrested, but he said that the situation was now calm.

"Police are patrolling the streets to make sure there is peace and security," he said by telephone.

The regional electoral commission said that the election in Zanzibar was annulled due to alleged violations and had called for a new election to be held on the island.

Foreign embassies in Tanzania such as the United States Embassy in Dar es Salam said in a statement that it was "gravely alarmed" of the annulment.

Also Britain’s High Commissioner Dianna Melrose said she was also "concerned" about Zanzibar’s decision and made a "call for calm."

Zanzibaris voted in local and national elections last Sunday, but criticisms mostly focused on the voting process on the Pemba Island.

Ukawa’s -coalition of four opposition parties- candidate Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself as the winner of the Zanzibari presidential election.

But government officials immediately commented and said that the illegal declaration risked the islands’ stability.

TRTWorld and agencies