Tanzania's two main opposition parties have called for a re-run of Wednesday's election after populist President John Magufuli was declared the winner with a crushing 84 percent of votes amid fraud allegations.

Tanzania's incumbent President and presidential candidate of ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) John Magufuli (L) and Tanzania's former MP and presidential candidate of the Chadema main opposition party Tundu Lissu (R), speaking during the official launch of the party's campaign for the October general election at the Jamhuri stadium in Dodoma, Tanzania, on August 28 and 29, 2020.
Tanzania's incumbent President and presidential candidate of ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) John Magufuli (L) and Tanzania's former MP and presidential candidate of the Chadema main opposition party Tundu Lissu (R), speaking during the official launch of the party's campaign for the October general election at the Jamhuri stadium in Dodoma, Tanzania, on August 28 and 29, 2020. (AFP)

Tanzania's two main opposition parties have called for a re-run of Wednesday's election after alleging widespread fraud, and they are urging people into the streets for an “endless peaceful demonstration” starting from Monday.

The joint statement on Saturday by the CHADEMA and ACT Wazalendo parties comes hours after populist President John Magufuli was declared the winner of a second five-year term, with a crushing 84 percent of votes.

The ruling party also secured nearly every seat in parliament, giving it the power to change the country's constitution.

“What happened on October 28 was not an election but a butchering of democracy,” CHADEMA chair Freeman Tanzania Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe told reporters, asserting that more than 20 people were killed during the vote. 

“We demand the election repeated with immediate effect and the dissolving of the national electoral commission.”

He added: “We announce an endless peaceful demonstration beginning Monday until our demands are implemented.”

The resounding victory for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Revolutionary Party) will further cement the power of a party that has been in power since independence in 1961, but stands accused of a slide into autocracy under Magufuli.

READ MORE: Tanzania's Magufuli wins election by a landslide

Election freud allegations

In his bid for a second term, Magufuli has promised to boost the economy by completing infrastructure projects kick-started in his first term, such as a new hydropower dam, a railway line and new planes for the national carrier.

But the opposition and rights groups have complained that his administration has cracked down on critical voices, closing down media outlets and preventing opposition rallies.

Allegations include the rejection of thousands of election observers, a massive slowdown in internet and text-messaging services and ballot box stuffing.

Magufuli was declared the winner with 12.5 million votes, or 84 percent, while top opposition candidate Tundu Lissu received 1.9 million, or 13 percent. Lissu earlier rejected the vote and called on the international community not to recognise it.

The national electoral commission in its announcement late Friday called all votes legitimate. Turnout was roughly 50 percent.

READ MORE: Tanzania votes for president amid opposition fears of violence and fraud

Force against unarmed civilians

The United States said it was concerned about "reports of systematic interference in the democratic process," during the election.

The vote was marred by irregularities, including the use of force against unarmed civilians, pre-ticking of ballots, the detention of opposition officials and restrictions on political party agents accessing polling stations, the US Embassy said.

Tanzanian police have acknowledged scores of arrests around the election but no killings, and the government has denied stifling dissent.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, tweeted on Friday, "we remain deeply concerned about reports of systematic interference in the democratic process".

The main challenger Lissu was shot 16 times in 2017 in what remains an unsolved case.

READ MORE: Tanzanians to vote amid alarm over stifling of democracy

Source: TRTWorld and agencies