Tanzania Swears In Samia Suluhu As First Female President

New Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, inspects a military parade following her swearing in the country’s first female President after the sudden death of President John Magufuli at statehouse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on March 19, 2021. AFP

 

Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan was on Friday sworn in as the country’s first female president after the sudden death of John Magufuli from an illness shrouded in mystery.

Hassan, 61, a soft-spoken Muslim woman from the island of Zanzibar, will finish Magufuli’s second five-year term, set to run until 2025.

Wearing a bright red headscarf, Hassan was sworn in as the country’s sixth president, at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam, where neither she nor the majority of attendees wore a mask, in the Covid-sceptic nation.

“I, Samia Suluhu Hassan, promise to be honest and obey and protect the constitution of Tanzania,” said the new president, as she took the oath of office before inspecting troops at a military parade and receiving a cannon salute.

She becomes the only other current serving female head of state in Africa alongside Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, whose role is mainly ceremonial.

Hassan was little known outside Tanzania until she appeared on state television on Wednesday night to announce that Magufuli had died aged 61 from a heart condition after a mysterious three -eek absence from public view.

But questions have been raised over the true cause of his death, after multiple rumours that Magufuli — one of the world’s most fervent Covid-sceptic leaders — had caught the virus and had sought treatment abroad.

Main opposition leader Tundu Lissu insists his sources said Magufuli had Covid-19 and had actually died a week ago.

File photo: Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Hassan Suluhu (L) and Tanzania’s President John Magufuli (C) as they speak with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on the phone at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on July 24, 2019. Ericky BONIPHACE / AFP

 

And Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, which last week reported an “African leader”, in clear reference to Magufuli, was in a Nairobi hospital, on Friday gave more details of his illness, also indicating Magufuli had in fact died last week.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Why Have Some Countries Paused The AstraZeneca Jab?

Citing sources, the paper said Magufuli was discharged from Nairobi Hospital on life support after it was determined he could not be resuscitated, and returned to Dar es Salaam where he died last Thursday.

The paper details his initial evacuation to Nairobi on March 8 in a medical plane, as he suffered “acute cardiac and respiratory illnesses.”

The main question hanging over the new president is whether she will usher in a change in leadership style from her predecessor, nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, notably in the handling of the pandemic.

– ‘A new chapter’ –
Magufuli leaves behind a complex legacy, after a swing to authoritarianism which saw him crack down on the media, activists and free speech, while refusing to take any measures against Covid-19.

He called for prayer instead of face masks, refused to publish case statistics or implement lockdown measures, and championed alternative medicines.

In this file photo taken on May 25, 2019 Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli gestures while arriving at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, for the inauguration of Incumbent South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.  (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

 

In May last year he revealed a papaya, quail and goat had tested positive for the virus in a secret operation, proving “sabotage” at the national laboratory.

However by February, as cases soared and the vice president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died from Covid-19, Magufuli conceded the virus was still circulating.

The opposition and rights groups have urged Hassan to change course.

“As we continue mourning, let us use this period to open up a new chapter for rebuilding national unity and respect to freedom, justice, rule of law, democracy and people-centred development,” said Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of opposition group Chadema, in a statement Thursday.

He urged Hassan to “lead the nation toward reconciliation”.

Meanwhile Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the new government “has a chance for a fresh start by ending problematic past practices.”

– ‘Hold your breath’ –
However analysts say Hassan will face early pressure from powerful Magufuli allies within the party, who dominate intelligence and other critical aspects of government, and would try and steer her decisions and agenda.

“For those who were kind of expecting a breakaway from the Magufuli way of things I would say hold your breath at the moment,” said Thabit Jacob, a researcher at the Roskilde University in Denmark and expert on Tanzania.

Hailing from Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous island in the Indian Ocean, Hassan rose through the ranks over a 20-year political career from local government to the national assembly.

Residents of the Kawe Kanisani district watch the swearing-in of the new Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, on March 19, 2021.  AFP

 

A ruling party stalwart, she was named Magufuli’s running mate in the 2015 presidential campaign. The pair were re-elected in October last year in a disputed poll marred by allegations of irregularities.

Hassan must consult the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) about appointing a new vice president. The party is set to hold a special meeting of its central committee on Saturday.

New Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, inspects a military parade following her swearing in the country’s first female President after the sudden death of President John Magufuli at statehouse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on March 19, 2021. AFP

 

Tanzania is observing a 14-day mourning period and details on Magufuli’s funeral have yet to be announced.

Magufuli is the second East African leader to die under mysterious circumstances.

Burundi’s equally Covid-sceptic leader, Pierre Nkurunziza, died from “heart failure” last June after his wife was flown to Nairobi to be treated for coronavirus.

AFP

Tanzania Mourns President Magufuli’s Demise After Mystery Illness

A man reads a newspaper with a headline announcing the death of Tanzania's President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam, on March 18, 2021. AFP
A man reads a newspaper with a headline announcing the death of Tanzania’s President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam, on March 18, 2021. AFP

 

Tanzania was plunged into mourning Thursday over the death of President John Magufuli following weeks of uncertainty over his health, with his swing to authoritarianism leaving a divided legacy. 

Flags flew at half-mast as the country began a 14-day mourning period after Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan — who is set to become the country’s first female leader — announced Magufuli’s death shortly before midnight.

Hassan said Magufuli had died on Wednesday of a “heart condition” relating to an abnormal heartbeat that he had long suffered from, in a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

The announcement came after government denials the president was ill as pressure mounted to explain his almost three-week absence from public view, which sparked panic and rumours he was seeking treatment abroad for Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Tanzanian President John Magufuli Dies Of ‘Heart Condition’

Several people were arrested this week for spreading rumours over his ill-health on social media.

As condolences poured in from abroad, main opposition leader Tundu Lissu, shot 16 times in a 2017 assassination attempt and exiled in Belgium, described Magufuli’s death as “poetic justice”, insisting his sources said he had succumbed to Covid-19.

“Magufuli died of corona. That is one. Number two, Magufuli did not die this evening. I have information from basically the same sources which told me he was gravely ill, I have information that Magufuli has been dead since Wednesday of last week,” he told Kenya’s KTN News, using local slang for the virus.

“What should I say? It is poetic justice. President Magufuli defied the world on the struggle against corona… He defied science… And what has happened, happened. He went down with corona.”

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, current head of the East African Community bloc, said Africa had lost an “illustrious” leader and ordered a seven-day period of mourning in Kenya and for flags to fly at half-mast in the region.

Ethiopia, Britain and the United States also sent condolences, with Washington saying “we hope that Tanzania can move forward on a democratic and prosperous path.”

‘I am shocked’

Magufuli was first elected in 2015 as a corruption-busting man of the people, endearing him to a population weary of graft scandals, who loved his no-nonsense attitude.

His expansion of free education, rural electrification and infrastructure investments also won him support, as did his efforts to increase Tanzania’s stake in mineral resources, demanding millions in back taxes from foreign mining companies.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 25, 2019 Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli gestures while arriving at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, for the inauguration of Incumbent South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

 

“The poor had started making progress, business was flourishing, if you had a problem, the president would hear you out,” said 71-year-old newspaper vendor Kondo Nyumba, crying, as he sold the day’s papers, one of which had ‘Sorrow’ headlining the front page.

Another city resident Omar Jongo, 42, was still in shock.

“As any other Tanzanian, I am shocked, and we still haven’t come to terms with the news,” he told AFP.

“For the short time he served, he has done major visible reforms, as a nation we will remember him for the many good things he has done.

However, Magufuli’s slide into authoritarianism, which saw a crackdown on the media, civil society and opposition, raised alarm among foreign allies and rights groups.

His re-election last October was dismissed by the opposition and some diplomats as a sham, over alleged rigging, the blocking of foreign media and observer teams and an oppressive military presence.

“He will be remembered far more for what he destroyed (civic space, media freedom, democratic institutions, good governance) than for anything he started building (roads, modern railway, bridges, power plants, new planes and more),” said Dr Thabit Jacob, a researcher at the Roskilde University in Denmark and expert on Tanzania, in a text message.

“Some will argue he had good intentions and had the country at heart, but he leaves us with a complicated legacy to discuss for many years.”

‘There is no Covid-19’

Magufuli was one of a handful of world leaders, alongside former US president Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who scoffed at the virus, championing alternative medicines.

He called for prayer instead of face masks, before stopping the publication of statistics in April 2020 when the country had recorded a total of 509 cases and 16 deaths.

Tanzania became an outlier in a region which quickly implemented lockdowns, night-time curfews and travel restrictions to stem infections.

In May last year he revealed he had submitted a variety of fruit and animals to be tested for the virus and that a papaya, quail and goat tested positive, proving “sabotage” at the national laboratory.

Magufuli later claimed prayer had saved the country from Covid-19.

“That’s why we are all not wearing face masks here. You think we don’t fear dying? It’s because there is no Covid-19,” he said.

However by February, as illness soared and the vice president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died from Covid-19, Magufuli conceded the virus did in fact exist.

Nevertheless he warned his health ministry not to rush into procuring vaccines, saying they were “dangerous”.

Under Tanzania’s constitution, Hassan will become the country’s first female president and will consult the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party over the appointing of a new vice president.

Jacob said she would be a “president with a much weaker base, who will be controlled by the Magufuli faction and the intelligence. She will struggle to build her own base and factional contestations will emerge.”

 

AFP

Suluhu To Become First Female Tanzanian President After Magufuli’s Death

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 24, 2019, Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Hassan Suluhu (L) and Tanzania’s President John Magufuli (C) as they speak with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on the phone at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 
Ericky BONIPHACE / AFP

 

Samia Suluhu Hassan is a soft-spoken, Muslim woman thrust from the obscure role of vice president to become Tanzania’s first female leader after John Magufuli’s sudden death.

Under the constitution, Hassan, the country’s 61-year-old vice president, will serve the remainder of Magufuli’s second five-year term, which does not expire until 2025.

A former office clerk and development worker, Hassan began her political career in 2000 in her native Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago, before being elected to the national assembly on mainland Tanzania and assigned a senior ministry.

A ruling party stalwart, she rose through the ranks until being picked by Magufuli as his running mate in his first presidential election campaign in 2015.

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) comfortably won and Hassan made history when sworn-in as the country’s first-ever female vice president.

The pair were re-elected last October in a disputed poll the opposition and independent observers said was marred by irregularities.

 

READ ALSO: Tanzania Mourns President Magufuli’s Demise After Mystery Illness

 

She would sometimes represent Magufuli on trips abroad but many outside Tanzania had not heard of Hassan until she appeared on national television wearing a black headscarf to announce that Magufuli had died at 61 following a short illness.

In a slow and softly spoken address — a stark contrast to the thundering rhetoric favoured by her predecessor — Hassan solemnly declared 14 days of mourning.

She will consult the CCM over the appointing of a new vice president.

– ‘Hold your breath’ –

Analysts say Hassan will face early pressure from powerful Magufuli allies within the party, who dominate intelligence and other critical aspects of government, and would try and steer her decisions and agenda.

“For those who were kind of expecting a breakaway from the Magufuli way of things I would say hold your breath at the moment,” said Thabit Jacob, a researcher at the Roskilde University in Denmark and expert on Tanzania.

“I think she will struggle to build her own base… We shouldn’t expect major changes.”

Her loyalty to Magufuli, nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his no-nonsense attitude, was called into doubt in 2016.

Her office was forced to issue a statement denying she had resigned as rumours of a rift grew more persistent, and Hassan hinted at the controversy in a public speech last year.

“When you started working as president, many of us did not understand what you actually wanted. We did not know your direction. But today we all know your ambitions about Tanzania’s development,” she said in front of Magufuli.

– Getting things done –

Hassan was born on January 27, 1960 in Zanzibar, a former slaving hub and trading outpost in the Indian Ocean.

Then still a Muslim sultanate, Zanzibar did not merge formally with mainland Tanzania for another four years.

Her father was a school teacher and mother a housewife. Hassan graduated from high school but has said publicly that her finishing results were poor, and she took a clerkship in a government office at 17.

By 1988, after undertaking further study, Hassan had risen the ranks to become a development officer in the Zanzibari government.

She was employed as a project manager for the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and later in the 1990s was made executive director of an umbrella body governing non-governmental organisations in Zanzibar.

In 2000, she was nominated by the CCM to a special seat in Zanzibar’s House of Representatives. She then served as a local government minister — first for youth employment, women and children and then for tourism and trade investment.

In 2010, she was elected to the National Assembly on mainland Tanzania. Then-president Jakaya Kikwete appointed her as the Minister of State for Union Affairs.

She holds university qualifications from Tanzania, Britain and the United States. The mother of four has spoken publicly to encourage Tanzanian women and girls to pursue their dreams.

“I may look polite, and do not shout when speaking, but the most important thing is that everyone understands what I say and things get done as I say,” Hassan said in a speech last year.

She is among a very small circle of women to lead East African nations. Burundi briefly had an acting female president in 1993, while both Mauritius and Ethiopia have had women appointed to the ceremonial role of president.

-AFP

Tanzanian President John Magufuli Dies Of ‘Heart Condition’

(FILES) Tanzanian President John Magufuli has died from a heart condition, his vice president said in an address on state television on March 17, 2021,, after days of uncertainty over his health and whereabouts. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

 

Tanzanian President John Magufuli died Wednesday aged 61 from a heart condition, his vice president said, after more than five years of divisive, authoritarian rule capped by his refusal to take COVID-19 seriously. 

Magufuli, popularly nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, had been missing from public view for almost three weeks, fuelling wild rumours of his ill health, with opposition leaders claiming he had contracted the virus.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today on the 17th of March, 2021 at 6:00 pm we lost our brave leader, the President of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” said vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan.

She said Magufuli had died of a “heart condition”, which he has suffered from for a decade, at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

He had first been briefly admitted to the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute on March 6, but was subsequently discharged, Hassan said.

But Magufuli had again felt unwell and was on March 14 rushed to hospital, this time to the Emilio Mzena Memorial Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

“Our country shall be in a mourning period of 14 days and the flags shall fly at half-mast,” said Hassan, adding that funeral arrangements were under way.

Magufuli last appeared in public on February 27, and the fervent Catholic had missed three Sunday services, where he would often address the congregation, sparking concern.

Opposition leader Tundu Lissu cited sources saying that he had caught the virus, as demands grew for information on his whereabouts and rumours took off that Magufuli was seeking treatment outside the country.

– Anti-corruption crusader –
Magufuli was first elected in 2015 as a corruption-busting man of the people, endearing him to a population weary of graft scandals.

However a slide into authoritarianism, which saw a crackdown on the media, civil society and opposition, raised alarm among foreign allies and rights groups.

His re-election last October was dismissed by the opposition and some diplomats as a sham, over alleged rigging, the blocking of foreign media and observer teams and an oppressive military presence.

Analysts said that Magufuli had dealt a crushing blow to democracy in one of Africa’s most stable nations.

Magufuli also expanded free education, rural electrification and invested in infrastructure projects such as railways, a hydropower dam set to double electricity output and the revival of the national airline.

His government also passed a raft of laws to increase Tanzania’s stake in its mineral resources and demanded millions of dollars in back taxes from foreign mining companies.

But it is his handling of the coronavirus pandemic which cast his leadership style into sharp relief.

He championed prayer instead of face masks, before stopping the publication of statistics in April 2020 when the country had recorded a total of 509 cases and 16 deaths.

Tanzania became an outlier in a region which quickly implemented lockdowns, nightime curfews and travel restrictions to stem infections.

In May last year he revealed he had submitted a variety of fruit and animals to be tested for the virus and that a papaya, quail and goat tested positive, revealing “sabotage” at the national laboratory.

– ‘There is no Covid-19’ –
The devout Christian, who often took to the pulpit when he attended mass, later claimed prayer had saved the country from Covid-19.

“That’s why we are all not wearing face masks here. You think we don’t fear dying? It’s because there is no Covid-19,” he said.

However by February, under mounting pressure after the vice president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died from the coronavirus, Magufuli appeared to concede the virus did in fact exist.

Under Tanzania’s constitution, Hassan will become the country’s first female president and will consult the ruling CCM party over the appointing of a new vice president.

His death plunges Tanzania into political certainly, said Nic Cheeseman, professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham.

“The news of Magufuli’s death will fundamentally reshape Tanzanian politics. Having dominated the political scene since his election, he leaves something of a political vacuum,” Cheeseman said.

“This will trigger fresh uncertainty and all eyes will be on internal CCM politics to see what deals have been struck in the ruling party about the balance of power after the transition.”

CAFCL: Plateau United Accuse Simba Of Poor Sportsmanship, Plans To Protest Result

Abdul Maikaba believes his team was cheated in Tanzania.

 

Plateau United coach, Abdul Maikaba has accused Simba SC of Tanzania of poor sportsmanship, which he believes is responsible for his team’s early exit from the CAF Champions League.

Plateau United held the hosts to a goalless draw in Dar-Es-Salaam but losing 1-0 in the first leg in Jos showed them the way of the tournament in the preliminary round.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Sports, Coach Maikaba praised his team for making improvements and blamed the hosts for going against rules of fair play and sportsmanship to advance in the competition.

 

Sunday Adetunji and Ibrahim Abubakar in the dressing room minutes to match kick-off in Tanzania.

Simba’s ‘Pranks’

With a tone exuding confidence, Coach Abdul Maikaba told Channels Sports that the sole goal of Plateau was to achieve victory in Tanzania and advance to the next round of the CAF Champions League.

According to him, the boys were disappointed after the loss in Jos and were charged to make amends by giving all they had in the second leg match.

“Actually our performance was far better than what we played at home because, with the experience of the game we played in Jos, we understood our opponent more and planned our strategy very well,” the 55-year-old gaffer explained.

“If not for the pranks played by Simba, they played a lot of pranks outside the game to ensure they frustrate us.’’

READ ALSO: Mbappe Scores 100th Goal For PSG

Struggling to express his disappointment, Coach Maikaba said Simba’s antics can destroy the reputation of the competition.

“It got to an extent where they tried to stop some of our players entry into their country. They kept wasting our time at the airport and they pinpoint two players, Sunday Adetunji and Abubakar Ibrahim because they performed well in Jos, they didn’t want them to be part of the game, including our goalkeeper,” Maikaba stated.

“When we arrived at our hotel, we met some medical officials who said we have to undergo COVID-19 tests. We got in late, needed to train for an hour which was the time they gave us to use the match venue, yet they were insisting we have the tests.

“We asked that they come back 30 minutes so we train but they refused and informed us they will return in 10 minutes but they didn’t return until 2 hours later. So, we left them and went on with our training. They eventually returned, did the tests and held on to it till we concluded our warm-up to the match.”

He further narrated that “Five minutes to kick-off, the match commissioner informed us that five of our players tested positive to COVID-19. The information shocked us, we knew it was their plan to frustrate and intimidate us. We told them we won’t play the match because the result is coming late.”

“Later, the catch commissioner returned with a different list that had two players, Sunday Adetunji, Abubakar Ibrahim who were their main targets, our general manager, my chief coach and one other official,” Coach Maikaba told Channels Sports.

Sunday Adetunji joined Plateau United in September this year following his return to Nigeria after a short-lived spell at Czech Republic side FK Pribram B.

 

Plateau United’s Abubakar Ibrahim in the dressing room before the encounter.

 

Coach Maikaba described his move to the Jos-based team as fantastic and was banking on him to make a difference in Dar-es-salaam.

“Sunday Adetunji and the right-back, Abubakar Ibrahim were part of the starting eleven for the match, we had to replace them three minutes to the commencement of the game,” he added.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Edge Leeds At Stamford Bridge To Move Top Of Premier League

The coach noted that Adetunji’s absence was a huge blow to the ambition of his team.

“Right now we are at a different hospital, we want to do the test again with all those affected because 24 hours before we left Nigeria, the entire team tested negative to COVID-19. It is a shock to us that some became positive in Tanzania, less than 48 hours. If our verification results come out negative, it means they lied and we will take our case to the Confederation of African Football (CAF).”

First-Leg Regret?

Plateau United lost 1-0 to the Tanzanian champions in the first leg in Jos after losing vital chances to win it. Clatous Chama scored the winning goal for the visitors in the 53rd minute to make it a difficult task for the Nigerian team in the second leg.

Coach Maikaba agrees his team should have done better in the first leg match. “Of course I regret that result,” he admitted.

“But we gave our best and that’s what we could give because the truth is that we lacked match fitness. That was the first official game we played in nine months. It is difficult.

“If you are lucky, you will meet a team with the same problems you have, but we met a team with an edge in playing games, they had played eleven games in their league. That is the truth. But playing that game in Jos improved our match fitness and made us better in the second leg in Tanzania.”

Lessons for Nigeria

Playing continental football provides a good learning experience for participating clubs. Nigerian teams have a rich participation record in the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup but struggle to put the lessons into good use.

Coach Maikaba believes with valuable experiences in continental competitions, it is time for the country to start making positive changes with football.

“Let’s take Simba SC as a case study. In a small country like Tanzania, if you see their organization, it is far better than any club in Nigeria. The fans all in red and they got to the stadium three hours before the kick-off time. If not for CAF’s restriction of 30% capacity of the stadium, it would have packed and that’s total support for their team,” coach Maikaba stated.

He continued, “They also have a beautiful stadium with good training pitches. When you see how they operate, you’ll agree we need a better structure. They have good sponsorship; in Nigeria, it’s the reverse. Nigerian clubs lack sponsorship, we all rely on government to do things.

“Playing continental football requires a lot of preparation and you need proper investment to achieve that. For instance, we arrived in Tanzania, 24 hours to the game and that’s difficulty right there. For the first leg match in Jos, Simba arrived in Nigeria three days before the game; so you can see the difference?”

Coach Maikaba stated that corporate organisations must come into Nigerian football for it to grow. He admitted the problem is worrisome because it is deeply rooted in the grassroots.

“This exodus of our players happen right from the grassroots. Most of the discovered players from the grassroots don’t even play in the league. They just go straight to Europe. The best players in the country are owned by academies and these academies are not grooming players for the league, they ship them to Europe because of the money and in a way, you can’t blame them because it is business and they don’t believe their players will grow in the local league. The movement is not helping the league, we need quality players for the league to grow.”

The former Akwa United manager said that Nigeria must make an all-round improvement in football management to achieve good performance in the CAF champion League or Confederation Cup competitions.

Tanzanian Opposition Leader Arrested Ahead Of Protest


ERICKY BONIPHACE / AFP

 

Tanzanian police have arrested the chairman of the main opposition party Chadema as well as other top leaders, ahead of planned protests Monday against an election the party said was rigged.

Chadema and fellow opposition party ACT-Wazalendo rejected results which saw President John Magufuli win a second term with 84 percent of results and his ruling party take 97 percent of seats in parliament.

Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe had called for countrywide protests starting Monday as well as fresh elections.

“We have arrested Mbowe, he is in our hands,” said Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa, adding six other top members of the party were also under arrest.

“On top of these protests which we banned, they wanted to incite the vandalisation of buildings, burn petrol stations, markets, and public transport vehicles,” he said.

“Any person implicated in the planning of illegal protests will be arrested and will face justice.”

Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu won only 13 percent of the vote, after denouncing widespread fraud and intimidation of the opposition during the election and following years of repression and jailing of government opponents.

Lissu, who returned to Tanzania in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt, said his party’s agents had been kicked out of polling stations and ballot boxes had been stuffed.

The result of presidential elections cannot be contested in Tanzania although the parliamentary outcome can be challenged.

“The door is closed for us to challenge the presidential results in court, and that is why we have decided to take this to the people, who have the power,” Lissu said.

Magufuli was first elected in 2015, and alarm has grown over his slide into autocracy amid a crackdown on the opposition and the media.

In semi-autonomous Zanzibar, which also elects its own president, the opposition’s presidential candidate was arrested twice last week, and attempts to protest were quickly and brutally crushed by security forces.

-AFP

PHOTOS: Jonathan Leads AU Observer Team To Monitor Tanzania Polls

Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.

 

 

Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, led the African Union (AU) Observer Team to some polling stations in Dar es Salaam, as Tanzania holds its general election.

Jonathan tweeted some photos of himself and other members of the AU Observer Team at some of the polling units.

“The African Union sees today’s polls as yet another opportunity for the good people of the United Republic of Tanzania to deepen democracy and peace in the country,” the former Nigerian leader said.

See photos below:

Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.
Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.
Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.

Overshadowed By Malpractice Fears 

Tanzanians began casting their ballots Wednesday morning in an election overshadowed by opposition fears the vote will not be free and fair after years of repression under President John Magufuli, who is seeking a second term in office.

In semi-autonomous Zanzibar hundreds of men and women formed separate queues from before dawn in Garagara neighbourhood outside the capital Stone Town, where on Tuesday police fired teargas, live rounds and beat up civilians in the neighbourhood.

Long deemed a haven of stability in East Africa, observers say Tanzania has seen the stifling of democracy and a crackdown on freedom of speech under the 60-year-old Magufuli and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since 1961.

In the days leading up to the polls, the opposition said 10 people have died in violence in Zanzibar, while major social media networks — such as WhatsApp and Twitter — have been blocked across Tanzania.

Mnao Haji, 48, queuing to vote in Garagara, said she hoped the election “will be peaceful” despite a history of contested polls.

“During the clashes with police teargas fell inside my house. I screamed, crying, I was helpless,” she said as heavily armed officers and soldiers looked on.

On mainland Tanzania, Magufuli’s main challenger among 15 presidential candidates is Tundu Lissu, 52, of the Chadema opposition party.

Tanzania Votes In Election Marred By Violence, Fears Of Fraud

Voters check the voter’s roll at a polling station, some begin to cast their votes on October 28, 2020. AFP

 

Tanzanians began casting their ballots Wednesday morning in an election overshadowed by opposition fears the vote will not be free and fair after years of repression under President John Magufuli, who is seeking a second term in office.

In semi-autonomous Zanzibar hundreds of men and women formed separate queues from before dawn in Garagara neighbourhood outside the capital Stone Town, where on Tuesday police fired teargas, live rounds and beat up civilians in the neighbourhood.

Long deemed a haven of stability in East Africa, observers say Tanzania has seen the stifling of democracy and a crackdown on freedom of speech under the 60-year-old Magufuli and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since 1961.

In the days leading up to the polls, the opposition said 10 people have died in violence in Zanzibar, while major social media networks — such as WhatsApp and Twitter — have been blocked across Tanzania.

Mnao Haji, 48, queuing to vote in Garagara, said she hoped the election “will be peaceful” despite a history of contested polls.

“During the clashes with police teargas fell inside my house. I screamed, crying, I was helpless,” she said as heavily armed officers and soldiers looked on.

On mainland Tanzania, Magufuli’s main challenger among 15 presidential candidates is Tundu Lissu, 52, of the Chadema opposition party.

He returned to the country in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in what he believes was a politically-motivated assassination attempt.

Lissu’s return has reinvigorated an opposition demoralised by a ban on political rallies outside of election time, multiple arrests and attacks.

He expressed fears during the campaign that the polls would be rigged, leading to a seven day ban of his rallies for “seditious” language.

“I have witnessed through the campaign that Tanzanians are ready for changes and I believe they will turn out to vote tomorrow,” he said at his final rally Tuesday.

In Tanzania’s capital Dodoma, voters began casting their votes at Jamhuri Secondary School.

“It’s one of my important activities today. I don’t want to miss voting at all,” said Omary Msongolo.

In the northern town of Moshi, near Africa’s highest peak of Kilimanjaro, Nestor Shoo urged the electoral commission to show “impartiality, so that there can be peace”.

The opposition and analysts have expressed serious concerns about the fairness of the election, pointing in particular to a polls body comprising commissioners personally appointed by Magufuli.

‘A Farce’

On Zanzibar, citizens vote for their own president and lawmakers, as well as for the Tanzanian president.

In a boost for the opposition’s chances, Zitto Kabwe, the head of the popular ACT-Wazalendo party, has endorsed Lissu for the presidency on the mainland.

In return, Chadema is backing veteran opposition candidate Seif Sharif Hamad in his sixth bid for the presidency in Zanzibar, this time against CCM candidate Hussein Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

Zanzibar has a history of tense elections plagued with violence and irregularities and the opposition has again accused the ruling party of seeking to steal the vote.

“How can you have an election were you have teargas everywhere and live ammunition? It is in no case a fair election, it is just a farce,” said Hamad.

Increasing intolerance

Magufuli, elected in 2015, at first made wildly popular moves such as curbing foreign travel for government officials or showing up in person to make sure civil servants were doing their work.

Then, he banned political rallies and became increasingly intolerant of dissent.

A series of tough media laws were passed, arrests of journalists, activists and opposition members soared and several opposition members were killed.

Magufuli touts his expansion of free education, rural electrification and infrastructure projects such as railways, a hydropower dam and the revival of the national airline.

However analysts say while the economy grew at an impressive pre-coronavirus average of six percent, there was little job creation and aggressive tax collection has hurt the private sector and made doing business harde. The IMF expects growth to slow to 1.9 percent this year.

The election campaign has taken place with little regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tanzania stopped giving out official data on infections in April, and Magufuli has declared the country Covid-free, which he attributes to the power of prayer.

On the mainland, just over 29 million registered voters will cast their ballots, while some 566,000 will vote in Zanzibar from 7 am (0400 GMT) until 4 pm (1300 GMT).

African Leagues: Tanzania First To Start New Season Amid Virus

A file photo of the Tanzanian national flag.
A file photo of the Tanzanian national flag.

 

 

Tanzania again became the first African League to kick off during the coronavirus crisis when they opened the 2020/2021 league season on Sunday.

The championship was also the first to resume last season after a Covid-19 shutdown, playing from June with spectators permitted.

While Tanzanian clubs have started their new season, South Africa only completed their 2019/2020 season two days ago. Tunisia will finish theirs this Sunday and clubs in Egypt have between nine and 12 fixtures still to fulfil.

A resurgence of the virus in Morocco led to many postponements, but leaders Raja Casablanca and potential title rivals Wydad Casablanca are scheduled to play Wednesday.

Here is the AFP round-up of all the football action in Africa across the weekend.

Tanzania
Defending champions Simba SC won 2-1 at promoted Ihefu 2-1 after naming Barbara Gonzalez as the first female chief executive of a top-flight Tanzanian club.

Zambian Clatous Chama starred for the winners, who completed a league and cup double last season, and set up captain John Bocco for the opening goal of the match.

Likely chief rivals Young Africans were held 1-1 at home by Prisons in their first league match under Serb coach Zlatko Krmpotic, who has worked in five other African countries.

Egypt
Zamalek defeated third-place Pyramids 2-0 and mid-table El Gaish 1-0 to build a six-point lead in the race for second spot behind runaway leaders Al Ahly.

Mostafa Mohamed and Democratic Republic of Congo-born Kabongo Kasongo scored against Pyramids and Youssef Obama netted to sink Gaish.

Finishing second is significant because it secures a place in the CAF Champions League, which carries a $2.5 million (2.1 million euros) first prize.

Tunisia
Etoile Sahel, the only club to win all five current and past CAF club competitions, slipped to a 1-0 defeat away at relegation-threatened CS Hammam-Lif and remain fifth in a disappointing campaign.

Fares Meskini snatched the winning goal three minutes from time to lift Hammam-Lif above JS Kairouan and out of the danger zone, but only on goal difference, with two rounds to go.

Esperance, who were crowned champions last weekend, play at US Monastir Monday while second-place CS Sfaxien drew 0-0 at Stade Tunisien.

Morocco
Raja suffered a shock 1-0 home loss against second-last Ittihad Tangier, ending an unbeaten seven-match run since the league restarted in August after a five-month shutdown.

Youssef Anouar scored for Tangier on 74 minutes to boost the title hopes of third-place Wydad, the defending champions who trail Raja by five points but have two matches in hand.

Twelve of the 16 top-flight clubs have reported at least one positive case for Covid-19, leading to all teams having to stay in a hotel or sport centre.

South Africa
Mamelodi Sundowns won a third straight title at the weekend and now the focus switches to three-club play-offs for one lucrative 2020/2021 elite league place.

Black Leopards, who came second last in the Premiership, second division runners-up Ajax Cape Town and third-place Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila will contest a double-round mini-league.

The table-toppers qualify for the richest African league with clubs guaranteed a 2.5 million rand ($150,000, 125,000 euros) monthly allowance and millions more in prize money.

AFP

PHOTOS: 117 Stranded Nigerians Return From Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania

In this photo released by @AzmanAir on August 2, 2020, returnees disembark from an airplane following their evacuation from three East African countries.

 

A total of 117 Nigerians stranded in three East African countries as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have returned home.

They were brought back to the country on Sunday from Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The airplane which evacuated the returnees from the three East African countries touched down at about 3am at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

A Nigerian airline, Azman Air, which conducted the evacuation exercise, announced the arrival of the returnees in an early-morning tweet.

 

In line with the guidelines of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on evacuation, the returnees are expected to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

At the end of the isolation period, they are also expected to take another test to ascertain their COVID-19 status before reuniting with the society.

 

US Evacuees Now 1,430

Their return to the country came barely a day after the Nigeria Government evacuated 300 more Nigerians stranded in the United States.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in a tweet on Saturday, confirmed that a total of 300 citizens were brought back to the country.

 

According to the agency, the evacuation of the new set of returnees who also arrived at the international airport in Lagos via Ethiopian Airlines is the fifth from the US since the government began the exercise.

All the returnees had tested negative to COVID-19 before boarding the flight and would also observe the mandatory 14-day self-isolation as directed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The latest evacuation brings to 1,430 the total number of Nigerians who returned from the US.

Highpoints of the arrival of the stranded Nigerians from the three East African countries are captured in the photos below:

Ex-Tanzania President Mkapa Died Of Malaria, Not COVID-19 – Family

Personnel of The Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) salute the coffin of late former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa during the national funeral at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on July 26, 2020.  AFP

 

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa was suffering from malaria and died of a heart attack, his family said Sunday, scotching rumours that he succumbed to coronavirus.

“Mkapa was found with malaria and he was admitted for treatment since Wednesday,” family member William Erio revealed during a funeral mass broadcast on state television TBC1.

Mkapa, who ruled the East African country for two terms from 1995 to 2005, died early Friday aged 81 in a Dar es Salaam hospital but the government did not reveal the cause of the death.

“He was feeling better on Thursday and I was with him until 8:00 pm that day,” Erio said.

“After watching the evening news bulletin, he died of cardiac arrest,” Erio added, saying he wished to dispel rumours spreading on social media that Mkapa had contracted the new coronavirus.

President John Magufuli attended the funeral mass along with his vice president and prime minister at the national stadium.

The opposition has accused Magufuli’s government of a lack of transparency regarding its handling of a pandemic which the president said last Monday was no longer present in the country as he urged tourists to return.

Tanzania ceased publishing official statistics on the virus on April 29 and, unlike its neighbours, has taken no specific measures designed to halt its spread.

Officially, Tanzania has logged a mere 509 COVID-19 cases to date whereas neighbours such as Kenya and DR Congo have respectively registered more than 16,000 and more than 8,000.

Questions arose over Mkapa’s cause of death after Magufuli did not immediately make an official announcement on the time, place and cause in line with 2006 legislation.

Mkapa, who was the country’s third president after independence from Britain in 1962, will be buried in his home village in the southeastern region of Mtwra on Wednesday.

After leaving office he remained active, taking part in mediation talks in Kenya after 2007-08 election violence.

He also attempted, unsuccessfully, to mediate between Burundi’s government and opposition groups after a disputed 2015 election plunged the country into crisis.

AFP

Former Tanzanian President Mkapa Dies Aged 81

Benjamin William Mkapa
In this file photo taken on August 31, 2005 outgoing President of Tanzania Benjamin William Mkapa speaks to African Union diplomats during a session of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ahead of key WTO talks in Hong Kong, in December.  BORIS HERGER / AFP

 

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa has died age 81 in a Dar es Salaam hospital, the government announced Friday.

He was the country’s third president after independence from Britain in 1962 and ruled from 1995 to 2005.

“I’m saddened by the death of the third president of Tanzania and that is a big loss for us as a country. Let’s pray for him and more information will follow later,” said President John Magufuli in a short televised speech.

He did not reveal the cause of death.

Mkapa was born in 1938 to a poor family in south-eastern Mtwara.

He earned a degree in English in Uganda and later worked as a journalist before being appointed the press secretary for the country’s first president Julius Nyerere.

He held several cabinet posts, such as foreign minister and information minister and also served as ambassador to the United States before he was elected president.

Tanzania will hold a period of seven days of mourning, during which the national flag will be flown at half mast.

Mkapa had most recently attempted to mediate between Burundi’s government and opposition groups after a disputed 2015 election plunged the country into crisis, however the government repeatedly refused to take part and the talks went nowhere.

AFP