Tanzania holds local elections on Sunday as a test ahead of next year’s national elections, but without the main opposition party boycotting the polls citing violence and intimidation.
The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party of President John Magufuli, in power since 2015, is thus guaranteed to win. More than 19 million voters will nominate local leaders at village and street level.
These elected officials play a vital role in the organization of public meetings and mobilization for election campaigns. With important powers, they, for example, also allow elderly people access to free medical care.
Chadema, the main opposition party, decided in early November not to participate in the poll, explaining that its candidates were victims of intimidation or regulations whose purpose was to block their candidacy. Five small parties joined the boycott.
According to Chadema, militants have been kidnapped and beaten and one of them has accused the authorities of being behind a gun attack in 2017. According to the party, several have disappeared and have been murdered.
« Our party finds it wiser not to condone such electoral cheating. To continue to participate in such elections is to legitimize illegality, « said Chadema President Freeman Mbowe.
The expected results on Monday
In the economic capital, Dar es Salaam, several polling stations did not open because the candidates of the ruling party were alone in the running and were elected automatically, said an AFP journalist. The ballot will also not be held for the same reason in three of the 26 mainland regions of Tanzania.
In a few polling stations, however, candidates from small opposition parties ran for office.
The first results are expected Monday. In previous local elections in 2014, Mr. Magufuli’s CMM won three-quarters of the more than 12,000 vacancies. Chadema had 15% of the seats.
The next national elections are scheduled for the end of 2020. President John Magufuli is expected to run for a new five-year term, according to many Tanzanian observers.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced at the end of October an unprecedented retreat of fundamental freedoms in Tanzania since the arrival in power at the end of 2015 of Mr Magufuli, whose government has multiplied repressive actions against the media, civil society and civil society. the opposition.