The Tanzanian president is likely to be declared the winner in Wednesday’s election, while the ruling party appears to have won a two-thirds majority in parliament to change the constitution. The Election Commission said on Friday that 60% of the vote had been counted in the country, of which popular President John Magufuli had won 83% of the vote.
The ruling Chama Ch Mpinduji party won 194 parliamentary seats while the opposition parties won just two seats. This means that the opposition parties have been disappointed even in their strongholds and that the leaders of the two main opposition parties have lost their seats. The United States said “the irregularities and the huge differences in victory raise serious doubts about the credibility of the results.”
Tandu Lisu, the presidential candidate of the main opposition party CHADMA, has so far won 14% of the vote. He rejected the election and called for protests. The opposition has made allegations of widespread fraud, including double voting and confiscation of the ballot boxes. Although some international observers were allowed to attend the vote.
The Election Commission has denied allegations of irregularities in the East African country, which is one of Africa’s most populous countries, as well as one of the fastest growing economies. Magufuli underlined obtaining low and middle income country status for another term. Observers, however, say Tanzania’s reputation for its democratic views is waning as Magufuli was accused of suppressing voices of dissent during his first five-year term.
The assembly of opposition parties was banned in 2016, a year after Magufuli came to power. Media institutions have been targeted. Some candidates have been arrested, prevented from campaigning or disqualified before voting. The problem now is that the ruling party will use its good majority in parliament to change the constitution and increase the two-term limit for the presidency. Some leaders of the ruling party have called for a change.