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Tanzania Opposition Rejects Early Election Results

A voter casts his ballot during presidential and parliamentary elections at the Ukombozi primary school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 28, 2020.

The political opposition is rejecting early results of Tanzania’s presidential and parliamentary election, saying the vote was illegitimate due to widespread fraud. Presidential challenger Tundu Lissu called on the international community not to accept figures emerging from Wednesday’s voting.

One day after Tanzanians cast votes in Wednesday’s election, opposition figures in the East African country said they reject the whole election process.

Lissu told reporters Thursday in Dar es Salaam that results were full of irregularities and called on international bodies to take action.

“We are asking our people to take this matter into their own hands through peaceful, mass, and democratic action and protests. We are asking regional and international [bodies] that sent observers here, particularly the African Union. We ask those who sent observers to observe this election, not to confer any recognition to these illegitimate results,” Lissu said.

The ruling party and government spokespeople have said they’ll have no comment until after all votes are counted.

Tanzania's National Election Commission (NEC) chairman Semistocles Kaijage dismissed the reports of pre-ticked ballots as false and advised citizens to ignore them. He said there have been some reports circulating on social media regarding the presence of pre-ticked ballot papers in Kawe, Pangani and Kigoma constituencies.

Kaijage noted that those reports of the allegations have not yet been submitted to the National Electoral Commission. He urged all citizens to ignore those reports, saying they are invalid and unproven.

Early results show the majority of votes going to the ruling CCM party, led by President John Magufuli.

Absalom Kibanda, a political analyst, says that although it is very early to talk about a ruling party victory, as there are 264 constituencies, it’s a bad beginning and a bad sign to opposition parties. If that continues, he added, Tanzanians may find that they have very weak opposition parties in the coming parliament, compared to the previous period of five or 10 years.

The official, final election results are expected later Friday.