Representatives of the two main opposition parties in Tanzania, Chadema and the Alliance for Change and Transparency-Wazalendo, have appeared this Saturday to reject the electoral victory of the president, John Magufuli, demand the repetition of the elections and call for on Monday the beginning of a series of national protests against the development of the elections.
Magufuli was declared this Friday as the winner in the presidential elections held on Wednesday with about 83 percent of the votes, a result that was condemned this Saturday at a press conference with opposition delegates and starring the president of Chadema, Freeman Mbowe.
“Elections have not taken place here, but rather a democratic fraud committed by the National Electoral Commission,” Mbowe declared, before calling for the dissolution of the body and asking Tanzanians to join the protests.
“From Monday, November 2, members of our parties and all those who do not agree with the elections will participate in peaceful protests that will last until our demands are accepted,” he said at the appearance, collected by the Tanzanian branch of the BBC network.
In this context, the United States Government has shown its “concern” over the “credible information on irregularities” in the elections and “the use of force against unarmed civilians.”
“We will hold those responsible to account,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, via Twitter. “We call on the Tanzanian authorities to take immediate steps to restore faith in the democratic process,” he said.
Hours earlier, the US Embassy in Tanzania affirmed that the denunciations made by the opposition raise “serious doubts” regarding the first results released by the electoral commission. “The overwhelming margins of victory raise serious doubts about the credibility of the results,” he said.
These allegations, according to the Embassy, ”include arrests of candidates and protesters, restrictions on the ability to access the polling stations of representatives of political parties, repeated voting, ballots marked in advance and a generalized blocking of social networks and other platforms of communication”.
For his part, the British Ambassador to Tanzania, David Concar, expressed on Twitter his concern “about the tensions in Zanzibar.” “As in any election, the credibility of the process, in Zanzibar and on the mainland, will depend on the electoral authorities following up and investigating reports of irregularities,” he said.
Magufuli, who made the fight against corruption his main workhorse, has been widely criticized internationally for the persecution campaign against the opposition and the limitations on freedom of the press and expression, among others.