Zanzibar chaos casts pall over Tanzania election

The integrity of the Tanzanian General Election has been thrown into question after the annulment of the result on the restive islands of Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Electoral Commission officials said they had cancelled the results on the island over widespread fraud, two days after the opposition candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself winner of the hotly disputed election.
ZEC chairman Jecha Salum Jecha said new elections would have to take place, citing double-voting, cheating, and interference in the process by political parties.
Partial results
The announcement came just as Mr Edward Lowassa, the candidate of the Chadema party was set to address a press conference about the conduct of the election, in which he trails Dr John Magufuli, the candidate of the ruling CCM party, in official results announced so far.
Mr Lowassa said the election on the mainland should be called off and asked the NEC to stop announcing partial results.
With just over half of all 264 constituencies counted but with less than a third of the total vote accounted for, official results on Wednesday morning put Dr Magufuli ahead with 58.18 per cent of the vote to Mr Lowassa’s 40.14 per cent.
Full confidence
Zanzibar accounts for only around half a million votes out of 23 million but the decision to annul the election there comes amidst growing concerns about delays in the announcement of results on the mainland, growing tensions, and fears about the transparency of the process.
Election observers on Tuesday commended Tanzanian authorities for voting peacefully on Sunday but the EU mission said “insufficient efforts at transparency” meant that both the NEC and ZEC “did not enjoy the full confidence of all parties”.
Reports of clashes between police and opposition supporters have been reported across the country and the situation remains tense. Journalists and election observers had earlier been evacuated from Zanzibar after armed security officials cordoned off key buildings.