AGENCIES: Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has been declared winner of the 2020 presidential election. The National Electoral Commission on Friday announced the incumbent as the winner of the election although this has been dismissed by the opposition as a “travesty” due to widespread irregularities marred in the election process.
Magufuli’s CCM party, a version of which has held power in Tanzania since independence from Britain in 1961, had already retained power in the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar with 76% of the vote.
Dozens of opposition party officials and members were arrested in Zanzibar on Thursday and at least one is in hospital with severe injuries after he was beaten by the police, who have not commented on the incident.
Tundu Lissu, Magufuli’s main challenger, has said that he won’t accept the eventual election results. Lissu is running for the Chadema party.
The U.S. Embassy in the East African country said on Thursday there had been “credible allegations of significant election-related fraud and intimidation” in Wednesday’s election, in which voters were electing a president and lawmakers.
The vote was marred by allegations of arrests of candidates and protesters, restrictions on agents of political parties to access polling stations, multiple voting, pre-ticking of ballots and widespread blocking of social media, the U.S. Embassy said.
Officials at the electoral commission were not immediately available for comment on allegations of irregularities. On Wednesday, the commission denied allegations of fake ballots, saying they were unofficial and unsubstantiated.
Magufuli is seeking a second, five-year term, and has promised voters that he will boost the economy by completing ambitious infrastructure projects he started in his first term.
Zitto Kabwe, the leader of the main opposition party in Zanzibar, ACT-Wazalendo, and Chadema’s leader in parliament, Freeman Mbowe, are among dozens of opposition candidates who have lost their seats to the ruling party. (Writing by Duncan Miriri and Giulia Paravicini, Editing by William Maclean and Rosalba O’Brien)