The official result of the local elections in Tanzania held over the weekend has been released. Tanzania’s ruling party won more than 99 percent of seats in local elections, with many local media agencies saying the percentage is as high as 99.8%.
The figures released yesterday after collation of the election results confirmed that only members of the president’s ruling party participated in the elections.
The vote on Sunday was for 16,000 seats for street and village leaders. It was gathered that these positions are very influential in Tanzanian and go a long way in determining the election results at the national level.
The long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party of President John Magufuli swept the poll as expected in the East African country.
Chadema, the main opposition party, said earlier this month it would not be taking part because its candidates were too afraid or had been disqualified by stringent rules. It was later announced that five other opposition parties also joined the boycott.
“In most cases, CCM candidates were unopposed,” the minister for regional administration and local government, Selemen Jaffo, told a press conference in Dodoma.
The slight fraction in the result resulted from invalid, concealed votes. In a minimal number of cases, opposition candidates did win because they had not officially withdrawn their bid, he said.
Local leaders wield considerable power in Tanzania. For example, the elderly need to have an endorsement from their local chief to be able to have access to free medical care.
The major opposition party, Chadema claim that their activists have been kidnapped and beaten, and at least one has blamed authorities for an attack in 2017 in which he was shot multiple times.
“Our party believes it is wiser not to support such electoral cheating,” Chadema president Freeman Mbowe said in November. “To continue to participate in elections of this kind is to legitimize illegality.”
In the economic capital Dar es Salaam, several polling stations were closed because the CCM candidate stood unopposed and thus was automatically elected.
Reports claim that four of Tanzania’s 26 mainland regions did not hold polls at all because of the opposition boycott.
Magufuli has been fiercely criticized by watchdogs for his human rights record.
Free media has been intimidated by draconian cybercrime laws, critical newspapers and bloggers have been silenced, and opposition activists have been harassed, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International.
Many critics believe the government should have shifted the elections to address concerns of the opposition, do you agree?
Header Image Credit: AFP