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Zanzibar's presidential candidate declares himself winner

Monday October 26 2015

Civic United Front supporters gather outside the party headquarters in Zanzibar on Monday, October 26, 2015 where the presidential candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, later declared himself winner.

Civic United Front supporters gather outside the party headquarters in Zanzibar on Monday, October 26, 2015 where the presidential candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, later declared himself winner. AFP| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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An opposition candidate in Zanzibar on Monday declared himself the winner of the island’s presidential election as security agents arrested 191 people during a night raid on opposition tallying centres.

One of those seized was Kenyan, one French and another a Korean.

While Tanzania remained generally calm after the most competitive election since independence, these were some of the signs of tensions as results started trickling on Monday. 

Official tallies released on Monday by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) put Dr Pombe Magufuli, the presidential candidate of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), in the lead.

Some 23 million Tanzanians were registered to vote and more than half of all voters live in nine major regions of the country. 

Mr Lowassa, who ran under the Ukawa Opposition Alliance, accused NEC of selectively releasing results from CCM strongholds and warned that delays in announcing official results could inflame tensions after the arrests of the party’s tallying centre officials. 


“All they were doing is collating results from polling stations across the country,” Mr Lowassa said at a press conference. “We have been incapacitated, all our tallying centres have been raided and the volunteers incarcerated. This is so unfair.”

The whereabouts of the detainees seized during raids in Dar-es-Salaam were unknown by last evening. 


In Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, the candidate of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), which is part of the Ukawa alliance, said he had received 200,077 votes against 178,363 for the incumbent CCM candidate, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein in what would be the first ever defeat for the ruling party in the island’s presidential elections. 

“We call on the (Zanzibar Electoral Commission) to declare the result without delay, and we call on Dr Shein to end any uncertainty and concede defeat,” CUF said in a statement. “The longer the announcement is delayed the more room there is for those who will try to manipulate and change the outcome.”  

By 5pm, however, NEC was yet to announce full results from the islands and partial results still put the CCM candidate in the lead.

CUF lost narrowly to CCM in the 2010 election but the rival parties agreed on a power-sharing arrangement to avoid violence. 

There was no official response to the declaration from the Zanzibar electoral officials but the head of NEC, Justice Damian Lubuva, called for patience as he delivered the second batch of official results in the afternoon.

NEC has promised to announce the final results by Thursday and the new President is scheduled to be sworn in on November 5. 

Early results from the parliamentary elections suggested a tight contest between the two parties.

By 5pm, official results showed CCM and Chadema neck-and-neck having won 12 and nine seats respectively out of the 265-seat Parliament. Early exit interviews suggested that CCM, which had 186 of the 239 seats in the last Parliament, would win a smaller majority this time round.   

After a polling day that was widely heralded for being peaceful, reports of skirmishes between supporters of the two main political parties started trickling in from different regions.  

Police in Tandahimba, Mtwara Region in the southeast of the country, said they were holding eight people for allegedly invading and destroying the house of an election supervisor in Nanyamba Province.

In Tarime, northern Tanzania, a 36-year-old opposition supporter was stabbed to death in a dispute with a CCM supporter on Sunday night.

The election has been the most tightly contested since Tanzania returned to multiparty politics in 1992.