Tanzanian President John Magufuli was re-elected for a second term after a general election marked by the virtual disappearance of the parliamentary opposition, which calls Wednesday’s poll a “total sham” marred by massive fraud.
The outgoing president, 61, nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, is credited with 84.39% of the vote – up from 58% when he won in 2015 – while his main rival Tundu Lissu, 52, totals just 13.03 % of the vote, according to the final results announced Friday by the Electoral Commission (NEC).
The rest of the votes are scattered among the 13 other candidates.
“The Commission declares John Magufuli (…) the winner of the presidential election,” announced NEC President Semistocles Kaijage.
Mr. Magufuli’s party, the CCM, in power continuously since independence, also won almost all of the 264 seats in Parliament allocated in the legislative ballot coupled with the presidential election, according to the latest results published by the NEC.
The CCM won constituencies in historic opposition strongholds, notably in Dar es Salaam or Arusha, the big city in the North.
This overwhelming victory is in line with Mr. Magufuli’s first term in office, characterized by a sharp decline in fundamental freedoms and an increase in attacks against the opposition, according to human rights organizations.
His supporters highlight his resolute fight against corruption or the renegotiation of contracts with foreign companies to improve the share going to the country.
The work of “a gang”
Mr Lissu had, however, been able to reinvigorate a weakened opposition, after returning to Tanzania in July. He had just spent three years abroad where he had recovered from an assassination attempt in 2017, which he said was politically motivated and during which he had been hit by 16 bullets.
It was “not an election” but the work of a “gang which decided to remain in power at all costs”, Mr Lissu accused Thursday, rejecting in advance “illegitimate” results.
“Democratic change is not possible in Tanzania,” he lamented, denouncing “electoral fraud on an unprecedented scale” in the country.
Tanzania does not allow legal challenges to the outcome of the presidential election – a possible legislative process – and Mr. Lissu called on his supporters for “democratic and peaceful” demonstrations and support from the international community.
But for the moment no protest movement has been noted.
“We are concerned about credible reports of electoral irregularities and the use of force against unarmed civilians, and we will hold the individuals responsible to account,” said US State Department spokeswoman Morgan. Ortagus, on Twitter.
“We call on the Tanzanian authorities to take immediate steps to restore confidence in the democratic process,” she added.
Few of the international media have obtained accreditation to cover the polls in mainland Tanzania and several messaging or social networks such as WhatsApp and Twitter have been inaccessible across the country for several days.
“The art of rigging an election”
In the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, where voters also chose their own president and deputies, CCM candidate Hussein Mwinyi largely won the presidential election with 76.27% of the vote.
In this archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the scene of recurrent post-electoral violence, the opposition won only four of the 50 seats in the local assembly.
Seif Sharif Hamad, beaten by Mr Minyi as President of Zanzibar and leader of the local opposition, was arrested Thursday along with other members of his opposition party, ACT-Wazalendo, shortly after calling his supporters. to demonstrate.
His party said he was released shortly after the results were announced in Zanzibar on Thursday evening and claimed his spokesman Ismail Jussa was severely beaten during his arrest, to the point of having a broken leg and a shoulder fracture.
Zanzibar was the subject for this election of a very large deployment of police, soldiers and militiamen from the ruling party, called “Zombies”.
In sharp contrast to the comments of the American administration, the observation mission of the Community of East African States, headed by former Burundian President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, concluded that the ballot had been conducted ” credible”.
At the antipodes of the researcher on East Africa of the International Crisis Group Murithi Mutiga, who as of Thursday estimated: “The Tanzania of Magufuli raised the art of rigging elections to a new level, as of plotting crushing victories for the party in power even in the strongholds of the opposition “.