DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzanian President John Magufuli has officially won a second term, with a landslide victory of more than 84% of the vote in this week’s election. His main opponent, Tundu Lissu, earned 13% of the vote, according to the official count. Tanzania’s citizens have accepted the results.
Announcing the votes Friday in Dar es Salaam, the chairperson of the National Electoral Commission, Semistocles Kaijage, said 15 million of 29 million registered voters went to the polls.
Dar es Salaam resident Juma Mfaume, a 36-year-old bus driver and President John Magufuli supporter, said as the count was coming in, it was obvious Magufuli should win a second term.
He said he deserved to win because citizens are all seeing all that he has done, said Mfaume, adding that he has managed to encourage even those who were not his followers to support him.
Another Magufuli supporter, 29-year-old businessman Edward Mbise, said he is extremely happy about the results.
“This was just normal. We all expected to win due to what he has done he was going to win this election,” he said. Mbise adds that Magufuli has accomplished so many things that you can’t even finish listing all of them.
Magufuli’s main challenger, Tundu Lissu, of the Party for Democracy and Progress, or Chadema, said the election was full of fraud, and he called on the international community not to accept the results.
Lissu said an election of this kind is not free, fair or credible, and therefore it cannot provide any authority to the citizens. He added that citizens must take action to ensure all election results are changed to restore power to their representatives.
What do Tanzanian laws say about challenging presidential election results? Fredrick Kiwelo is an independent lawyer.
“The election law after the announcement of the results by the National Electoral Commission, doesn’t give permission to someone who isn’t satisfied by the results,” said Kiwelo. He added that it’s like the law forces you to agree with what has been announced regardless if you’re satisfied or not.
Meanwhile, the East Africa observer team led by Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, the former president of Burundi, said the election was free and fair.
He said in all areas that the team observed, it was satisfied with the electoral process. The team has received a report that some of the opposition leaders were not satisfied with the way election process was conducted, and the results, he said. Ntibantunganya added that the team urges them to submit their accusations according to the laws that govern and supervise elections in Tanzania.
But the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), in its report Friday, said it observed oppression, and said the opposition had been targeted in a way that challenges the fairness of the election.
Pensy Tlakula is the leader of that observer team.
“Restriction on freedom of the media and internet, restriction during the voting process are all examples of ways in which information was limited during the 2020 electoral period. The arrests and detention of a significant number of opposition candidates, party leaders and members of the press. The effect of these arrests in creating an atmosphere of tension and fear is regrettable.”
President Magufuli is expected to be sworn in within a week, while opposition officials insist that citizen action can still change voting results.