Tanzanian opposition demands recount


A Tanzanian opposition leader asked the electoral body to stop announcing results from the presidential vote and called for a recount, saying there were incidents of fraud.

Foreign observers, including the European Union, on Tuesday expressed concern about the delays in the announcement of the election results, and said it had reservations about the transparency of the aggregation process.

Results from the 239 constituencies in east Africa’s second largest economy have been trickling in more slowly than expected, leading to a third day of clashes between opposition supporters and riot police in some parts of the country, Reuters reports.

Willibrod Slaa, the presidential candidate for the Chadema party, campaigned on an anti-corruption platform and has been making the most gains among the opposition candidates in the presidential race.

Early confirmed figures gave incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete of the ruling party’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), who is seeking a second and final term, the advantage, but some political analysts expected the margin of victory to be tight.

Slaa said the vote counting process was riddled with irregularities.
“We want the National Electoral Commission to suspend the announcement of presidential results with immediate effect,” Slaa told a news conference.
“The figures that the electoral commission are announcing do not tally with the actual figures from the constituency. The presidential vote should be recounted.”

He accused the Tanzanian intelligence and security services of rigging the vote in favour of CCM and called for the resignation of the head of intelligence services.

The electoral commission was not immediately available for comment, but was due to speak to the media later on Wednesday.
“There is fraud and manipulation of figures. Various irregularities have been observed in the electoral process,” Slaa said, but urged calm from his supporters.
“We don’t want the public to go to the streets. We’ve actually been stopping them from doing that,” he said.

Tanzania has enjoyed relative stability in an often unsettled region and has managed to hold three successive multi-party presidential elections since 1995, after more than three decades of one-party rule.

The election is seen as a test for the ruling party’s dominance in Tanzania, which has been struggling with poverty and underdevelopment. Government critics say poverty remains widespread among the majority of the population of 40 million.

Earlier, Ali Mohamed Shein, who won the presidential vote in
of Zanzibar, was sworn in as president of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago following a peaceful vote on Sunday.

Presidential elections in Zanzibar in 2000 and 2005 were marred by violence, but the ruling CCM and rival Civic United Front party have since agreed to share power.