John Magufuli wins second presidential term in Tanzania

·2-min read

John Magufuli has swept to victory in the presidential election in Tanzania.

The 61-year-old was returned to power with 84 percent of votes in a poll his main rival branded a fraud.

"The commission declares John Magufuli of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) who garnered the majority of votes as the winner in the presidential seat,” said commission chairman Semistocles Kaijage.

Tundu Lissu of the Chadema party won 13 percent of the vote on Wednesday. The 52-year-old denounced widespread fraud, intimidation and oppression of the opposition.

Voter turnout was 50.7 percent from more than 29 million voters, with more than 260,000 votes declared invalid.

No final results were given for the parliamentary results however Magufuli's ruling CCM had earlier won all but two seats, with around 200 of 264 parliamentary seats announced.

The resounding victory following Wednesday's vote will further cement the power of a party that has ruled since independence from Britain in 1961 but stands accused of a slide into autocracy under Magufuli.

Allegations

Lissu, who returned to Tanzania in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt, on Thursday declared that the results coming in were illegitimate.

He urged his supporters to demonstrate peacefully, while asking the international community not to recognise the outcome.

"Whatever happened was not an election and thus we do not recognise it," he said. "We do not accept the result."

He said opposition election monitors had been barred from entering polling stations and faced other interference. "What is being presented to the world is a complete fraud," Lissu added. "It is not an election."

The result of presidential elections cannot be contested in Tanzania, though the parliamentary outcome can be challenged.

Concern

The election took place with little monitoring from foreign observers and most international media were unable to gain accreditation to cover voting on the mainland.

"We are concerned by credible reports of election irregularities and the use of force against unarmed civilians, and will hold responsible individuals accountable," tweeted US state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

"We urge Tanzanian authorities to take immediate steps to restore faith in the democratic process."

Magufuli was first elected in 2015 on an anti-corruption ticket which endeared him to a population weary of scandals under his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete.

Once installed, he gained favour by scrapping lavish independence day celebrations, banning unnecessary foreign trips for officials and insisting on cleaner streets.

He became the scourge of work-shy civil servants by turning up unannounced at their offices and demanding to know why they were not at their desks.

Dozens of officials implicated in corruption were suspended and the hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo spread like wildfire on social media.

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