Observers to ‘call for more transparency in Tanzania election’

Foreign election observers are expected to commend Tanzanian authorities for a largely peaceful voting day but raise concerns about the levels of transparency in the country’s tightly contested election.

The observers are expected to issue their first official report about Sunday’s election at a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday afternoon.

“Voting day was generally peaceful across the country, but there are concerns about the lack of transparency in some aspects of the process,” a member of the European Union team of election observers told the Nation on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

John Pombe Magufuli, the candidate of the ruling CCM party, remains ahead of his closest challenger, Edward Lowassa of Chadema party, in official results announced by the National Electoral Commission, but the opposition candidate on Monday accused NEC of selectively releasing results in a manner likely to facilitate fraud.

RELEASE 191 OFFICIALS

Chadema officials also wrote to the Inspector General of Police on Monday to demand the release of 191 officials arrested from its official tally centres in Dar es Salaam during raids on Sunday night.

And in Zanzibar, police fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters after CUF candidate Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself the winner of the island’s presidency ahead of CCM candidate and incumbent Ali Mohamed Shein.

The tensions have continued into Tuesday. Police in Muleba town, in northern Tanzania, have fired tear gas to disperse crowds demonstrating against parliamentary results announced in the area.

With 61 out of 264 constituencies reporting on Tuesday morning, CCM had won 41 seats, CUF 5 while Chadema had won 15. More results are expected in the course of the day and NEC has promised to release final results by Thursday.