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Lowassa calls for cancellation of Tanzania's poll results

Wednesday October 28 2015

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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DAR ES SALAAM

Tanzania's presidential candidate Mr Edward Lowassa Wednesday called for the nullification of Tanzania's general elections, accusing the National Electoral Commission of announcing partial results.

Mr Lowassa said that the results do not reflect the people's will and that there were attempts to support the CCM candidate, Dr John Magufuli.

“In different areas where the results have been announced, what has been reported as presidential election results does not reflect people’s will,” he said, and alleged that there were attempts to support the CCM candidate, Dr John Magufuli.

“We want the commission to immediately stop the announcement of the results and restart the process to verify the results using the forms that were signed by party agents and election officers,” he added.

This comes after the nullification of Zanzibar's presidential elections by Zanzibar Electoral Commission, owing to widespread fraud.

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The US embassy in Dar-es-Salaam, while castigating the cancelling of the results in Zanzibar, said it was keeping a close eye on the tallying of the votes in Tanzania and demanded that the process be completed at the earliest possible time.

“We call on all government officials to respect the role of official observers, allowing full and free access to all elements of the election process. We urge all parties to engage in a transparent, fair, and peaceful electoral process,” the embassy said.

A group of local election observers, the Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation also raised doubts about the transparency of the electoral process.

Consortium Chairperson Martina Kabisama said apart from transparency, their assessment found out that there was excessive use of force by security forces against civilians.

FRESH ELECTIONS

Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition’s National Coordinator, Mr Onesmo Olengurumwa, said there was no fairness by state officials in the way they were treating political parties.

He said some parties were being favoured over others.

With just over half of all 264 constituencies counted but with less than a third of the total vote accounted for, official results yesterday put Mr John Magufuli of the ruling CCM ahead of Mr Lowassa with 58.18 per cent of the vote against his challenger’s 40.14 per cent.

Wednesday’s announcement by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission came two days after the opposition candidate, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, had declared himself winner of the hotly-disputed election.

Commission Chairman Jecha Salum Jecha said fresh elections would have to take place on the island, citing double-voting, cheating and interference in the process by political parties. 

“The process was not fair and had breaches of the law. I declare all the results to be null and void,” said Mr Jecha.

However, National Electoral Commission chief Damian Lubuva insisted that Zanzibar’s pullout would not affect the rest of the country.

“Tanzania mainland will continue releasing results,” he said.

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. 

TARNISHING THE COMMISSION

According to official results, CCM had won more parliamentary seats than Chadema. The final results are expected Thursday.

While releasing presidential election results from 52 constituencies later Wednesday, Mr Lubuva said the National Electoral Commission would not engage in any debate with whichever political party and stakeholders regarding the released presidential results.

He said his office had had to seek clarification on some issues after observing high levels of distortion about the presidential results released by constituencies but denied that commission was changing the figures.

The retired judge said such distortions risk tarnishing the image of the commission.

He criticised foreign observer missions and told them to abide by all the rules that guide its work.

He also called on Tanzanians to co-operate and not criticise the election as this posed a risk to the country’s reputation.