Polls open in Tanzania general election [photo: France 24]
Oct, 28th 2020 – Polls have opened in Tanzania’s general election, following nationwide reports of restricted internet access plus the arrest of an opposition leader in the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar. Results are expected to be announced within one week. President John Magufuli, whose Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM) party has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961, is seeking a second term in office.
His main challenger is Tundu Lissu of the biggest opposition party, Chadema, who survived an assassination attempt three years ago. He returned from Belgium in July where he had undergone rounds of treatment for gunshot wounds.
Some 29.1 million people are registered to vote in Wednesday’s general election – six million more than than the previous polls in 2015. Under Tanzania’s electoral rules, the winning candidate requires a simple majority to become president.
15 candidates are running for president including former minister Bernard Membe, an ex-colleague turned critic of Magufuli who quit from ruling party and now leads ACT Wazalendo
On Tuesday, Twitter warned that it was seeing some blocking and throttling of its services in Tanzania ahead of the Wednesday polls. it has appealed for the respect of basic human right. Internet users have also reported difficulties on the popular messaging platform Whatsapp when trying to download photos or videos.
Tanzanian authorities have however not addressed the internet restrictions. the country’s regulatory body has not responded to the BBC’s request for comment.