I meant to write a lot more on the elections, however, because I did a lot of work on it for UNICEF, none of the information quite made it on here.
Here are a few election highlights:
Despite the seemingly never-changing political dominance of the CCM, the now ruling party in Tanzania, competition between the main parties was the highest that its been in Tanzania’s political history. Most of the main parties reached the majority of the country, and political rallies were in high attendance. When we travelled to Lindi, we saw political party flags in almost every rural town we passed.
CCM main rival in the mainland, CHADEMA, found themselves butting heads most of the campaign. There were incidences of minor violence throughout the country, as supporters crashed each others political rallies. Only one death was reported, and injuries seemed to be quite minor.
There were a few reports of government strong arming during the election, including threats to shut down three local newspapers that were critical of the current government. 50 human rights organizations condemned the government for their “threats to the freedom of the press”. In the end, no newspapers were shut down.
When election day came around, polls were rather peaceful, with a few violent outbreaks when people could not find their names on the official voter registry or people were accused of voting twice. A few irregularities were reported, specifically regarding missing voters names, missing polling boxes, and mis-printed ballots; however, the few reports I have read have citied the election as largely transparent and fair.
There was minor fighting when election results took longer than expected to come out, however this subsided quickly. Results have started to trickle in over the past few days, and a clear picture has already emerged:
- Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein from CCM (now Vice President) wins the presidency of Zanzibar in a close race against CUF candidate Seif Sharif Hamad. Shein is the first Pemba native to hold the post. Hamad has conceded defeat and congratulated Shein. However, note that there is a power sharing agreement between parties, giving both power in the government.
- No surprises here: Jakaya Kikwete is in the lead to become president of Tanzania at the latest count with 64% of the vote. His main contender from CHADEMA, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa, has alleged that the poll was rigged and has demanded a new vote be taken; however, he has not made an official complaint to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), and provided no evidence.
- At the latest count, CCM lost 51 seats in the Bunge (Parliament) this election, however has still kept a majority in Parliament. I will update this with official numbers when I have them.
For more information:
- See initial election reports from: TEMCO (Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee) Mainland and Zanzibar; EUEOM (European Union); EAC (East African Community); SADC (Southen African Development Community)
- See the results that are in here. See the 2005 results here.
- See where the voters were
- From the NYT: Tanzanian politics and the Serengeti Highway
- The tough road to parliament for women.