Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission on Friday declared President John Magufuli as the winner of a second term, securing a huge victory in an election that has been dismissed by the opposition of widespread election fraud, reported Reuters. The total turnout in Wednesday’s election was roughly 50%, with 14.8 million people voting after 29 million registered.
According to the electoral commission, Magufuli got 12.5 million votes, or 85 percent, in the election, while his main challenger, Tundu Lissu of the Chadema party, got 1.9 million votes, or 13 percent.
“The commission declares John Magufuli of CCM [Chama Cha Mapinduzi] who garnered the majority of votes as the winner in the presidential seat,” said commission chairman Semistocles Kaijage.
Notably, opposition leader Lissu has already rejected the vote while alleging widespread irregularities including double-voting and ballot box-seizing by security forces or other authorities and called for peaceful demonstrations. He came back to Tanzania in July after living in exile for three years.
The opposition claimed that thousands of observers were not allowed to enter polling stations on Wednesday, and that at least a dozen people were killed on the voting day in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar. The government also slowed Internet and text-messaging services during the election.
The vote “marked the most significant backsliding in Tanzania’s democratic credentials,” Tanzania Elections Watch, a group of regional experts, said in an assessment released Friday.
The group noted that a heavy deployment of military and police whose conduct created a “climate of fear.”
The group said the electoral process was found to be way below the acceptable international standards for holding free and fair elections.
Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, said Washington is concerned about reports of systematic interference in Tanzania’s election.
“We continue to review credible allegations of the use of force against unarmed civilians,” he said in a tweet.