Opposition in Tanzania to skip Magufuli inauguration

President-elect John Magufuli's swearing in ceremony is due in Dar es Salaam Thursday November 5

President-elect John Magufuli’s swearing in ceremony is due in Dar es Salaam Thursday November 5

More than a week after coming short in the presidential contest, the opposition alliance in Tanzania, UKAWA has announced it will skip Thursday’s swearing in ceremony of the president-elect John Magufuli of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

In a joint statement released Wednesday, the four opposition parties forming the Coalition of the People’s Constitution popularly known as UKAWA; Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), Civic United Front (CUF), National Convention for Construction and Reform – Mageuzi (NCCR-Mageuzi) and National League for Democracy (NLD), said they will not attend the highly anticipated grand event in protest of the “fraud” results of the October 25 poll.

Chadema National Chairman and the Co-Chair of UKAWA, Freeman Mbowe said in the statement that their decision to sit out the ceremony is because the election was rigged and this is one way to demonstrate their disapproval.

“This is our message to the national and international communities that we’re against the results announced by the National Electoral Commission,” Mbowe said adding “We’re sorry that we cannot challenge the results in court due to our inopportune constitution.”

UKAWA’s choice for president Edward Lowassa of Chadema lost to CCM’s Magufuli 40 % to 58 % of the vote.

Lowassa rejected the “doctored” results immediately after they were declared by the electoral commission last week, he had planned a three-day countrywide protest this week but the police and security agencies have foiled his efforts.

“We refuse to accept this attempt to rob the citizens of Tanzania of their democratic rights, which is being done by the National Electoral Commission by announcing results which are not the actual results and that are intended to take away our victory,” Lowassa told reporters in the capital Dar es Salaam last week.

Tanzania’s latest election had been billed the most competitive in the country’s political history but the ruling CCM has managed to stave off opposition challenge to maintain its stay in power.
The country’s governing party has won every election since the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s.

UKAWA has however, gained 75 out of 256 parliamentary seats improving opposition’s performance in legislative polls.

Outgoing leader Jakaya Kikwete has declared Thursday November 5, a public holiday appealing to all Tanzanians to come up in huge numbers and celebrate Magufuli’s inauguration at Uhuru Stadium in the capital, Dar es Salaam.

The fete will be graced by regional leaders of Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Rwanda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe among others including representatives of the international community.

Chadema Communication officer, Tumain Makene told all 75 coalition members of parliament will not attend inaugural celebrations as well.