Tanzania Presidential poll: ruling party’s Magufuli wins, opposition claims victory

President Kikwete (L) campaigning with John Magufuli earlier this month

President Kikwete (L) campaigning with John Magufuli earlier this month

Tanzania National Electoral Commission has officially declared the governing Chama Cha Mapindunzi’s candidate, John Pombe Magufuli the winner of last Sunday’s presidential election by 58.5% of the vote.

Dr. Magufuli beat his archrival, opposition coalition, UKAWA, and Chadema candidate Edward Lowassa, 62, who garnered 39.97 % of the vote

Magufuli, who is the current Minister of Works won with a total of 8, 882, 935 votes whereas former premier Lowassa got 6, 072, 848.

Magufuli will take the oath of office November 5, thereby officially succeeding President Jakaya Kikwete as the next leader of Tanzania.

Meanwhile, opposition main challenger, Lowassa has dismissed the results claiming NEC connived with the ruling party to rob him and his supporters a well deserved victory.

“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.

Lowassa announced to have won the controversial poll by 62% of the vote and urged the NEC declare him the next president of the East African nation.

“We are requesting that the National Electoral Commission announces that Edward Lowassa is the winner of the presidency of the United Republic of Tanzania,” he said

Analysts and political commentators had billed this election the most competitive in the countries political history, and actually many had fancied Lowassa and the opposition to finally end CCM’s three-decade rule.

The election has been marred by controversy and claims of fraud, and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) has annulled the poll on the semi-autonomous island although the opposition support Civic United Front (CUF) candidate had claimed victory.

“Election not credible”

The European Union team of observers have revealed the just concluded poll was not credible and that the ruling party CCM used it’s influence to manipulate operations of the both NEC and ZEC.

“In the undertaking of the different stages of the electoral process, the NEC and ZEC did not provide for full transparency regarding their decision making processes and stakeholders access to scrutinize the commission’s activities was not always granted,” EU observer mission Dar es Salaam, Thursday.

There have been reports the alleged irregularities, and the ruling party influence in the election will spark unrest in the country.