Tanzanian President, John Magufuli

OBINNA EZUGWU

Incumbent Tanzanian President, John Magufuli was on Friday, announced winner of the country’s presidential election held on Wednesday.

Magufuli won a resounding victory, taking 84 percent of votes in a poll his main rival, Tundu Lissu, say is marred by irregularities.

Lissu, 52, candidate of the key opposition Chadema, won only 13 percent of the vote, after denouncing widespread fraud, intimidation and oppression of the opposition.

“The commission declares John Magufuli of CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) who garnered the majority of votes as the winner in the presidential seat,” the country’s electoral commission chairman, Semistocles Kaijage, announced on Friday.

Voter turnout was 50.7 percent from more than 29 million voters, with over 260,000 votes declared invalid.

Final results were not given for the parliamentary results, however, Magufuli’s ruling CCM had earlier won all but two seats, with around 200 of 264 parliamentary seats announced.

In 2015, Magufuli won with only 58 percent of the vote.

The resounding victory is projected to further cement the power of a party that has been in power since independence in 1961 but stands accused of a slide into autocracy under Magufuli.

The opposition candidate who returned to the country in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt, on Thursday declared that the results coming in were “illegitimate”.

He called on his supporters to demonstrate peacefully, while asking the international community not to recognise the outcome.

“Whatever happened yesterday was not an election, and thus we do not recognise it. We do not accept the result,” Lissu said.

“What is being presented to the world is a complete fraud. It is not an election.”

The result of presidential elections cannot be contested in Tanzania, though the parliamentary outcome can be challenged.