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).

LIVE: Citizens Townhall On Voting Amidst COVID-19

 

Welcome to the Live TV and Virtual Citizens Town Hall which will focus on the theme: Voting Amidst the COVID-19, with specific reference to the 2020 Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on May 21, released its policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The purpose of the policy, according to INEC, was “to enable officials and staff of the commission to understand and respond adequately to the challenges of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and financial implications, as well as to provide a guide for engagement with stakeholders during the elections”.

The electoral body also noted that the policy will regulate the conduct of the upcoming governorship election in Edo and Ondo and rescheduled bye-elections and so far, INEC is consulting relevant stakeholders to harness feedback on the proposed policy.

 

 

In light of that, this townhall is conducted to complement the INEC-led consultations on the policy. Specifically, the Citizens Townhall seeks to achieve the following specific objectives;

1. To facilitate public debate on the impact of COVID-19 on elections with a view to harnessing citizens inputs into the INEC policy on election in the context of the
COVID-19 pandemic.

2. To raise public awareness on the policy especially the new processes and guidelines introduced in the electoral process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The debate is proposed to bring together a cross-section of stakeholders including INEC, NCDC, security agencies, CSOs, political parties, citizens and the media to discuss the practicalities of conducting elections amidst COVID-19 and the overriding implications of not conducting elections within constitutional time limits.

Stay tuned to our platforms for more.

Voters In Parts Of Lagos Wait For More Than Seven Hours To Cast Their Ballots

Anglican Primary School Registration Area Centre (RAC) in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State.

 

More than seven hours after voting officially commenced, some eligible voters in parts of Lagos waited to cast their ballots, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to distribute some sensitive materials in the affected polling units.

The delay was said to have been caused by the non-payment of some National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving as ad hoc staff in the election.

They refused to take part in the exercise in protest over their inability to receive their allowances.

At the Kosofe Local Government Area of the state, Channels Television’s Political Correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, observed that the environment was relatively peaceful with a large turnout of prospective voters but no presence of INEC officials.

However, speaking to Channels Television at the Anglican Primary School Registration Area Centre (RAC), NYSC State Coordinator, Mr. Mohammed Momoh, said contrary to their claim, most corps members participating in the polls had been paid.

READ ALSO: I Will Win, Governor Okowa Says After Voting In Delta

He blamed the non-payment of some corps members on an alleged error in details of their bank accounts.

NYSC State Coordinator, Mr Mohammed Momoh

NYSC State Coordinator, Mr Mohammed Momoh.“I can say that over 98 percent of them have received their credit and others by Monday, once they correct account details, they are getting paid,” he said.

When asked how much the NYSC members were being paid, the State Coordinator said each member got N4,500 for the training and N13,000 for participating in the Presidential/National Assembly elections.

Giving the breakdown of the N13,000, he said, “N3,000 for transportation to the RAC, N1000 for feeding and N9,000 for the conduct of the elections.”

On the accommodation of the electoral officials, Momoh explained that the NYSC in collaboration with INEC had taken care of that by providing beds for the corps members.

The Lagos State NYSC Coordinator also vowed to sanction any corps member found flouting the electoral law or the NYSC rules during the election.

El-Rufai Votes In Kaduna

Photos: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

Governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai has cast his vote at his Polling Unit.

See photos below.

Read Also: El-Rufai Applauds INEC For ‘Improved Logistics’ In Electoral Process

Election Day In Nigeria: Scenes From Across The Nation

 

After an intriguing period of political drama and campaigning, heralded by defections and war of words, Nigerians will today to decide who will lead the country for the next four years and elect lawmakers to fill the 469 national legislative seats up for grabs.

The photos below highlight the situation across the country as citizens exercise their franchise.

 

Lagos

Abia

Abuja

 

Adamawa

Anambra

Edo

Enugu

Imo

Kwara

Nasarawa

Buhari Votes In Katsina

 

Vice President Osinbajo, Wife Cast Their Votes In Lagos

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and his wife Dolapo have cast their votes at their residence in Victoria Garden City (VGC) Lagos.

Prof. Osinbajo commended the turnout of voters and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a smooth process.

He said that the turnout was impressive, expressing confidence in the elections

“We are very confident of returning to office, we have gone ground the nation and spoken to everyone.

READ ALSOBREAKING: Atiku, Wife Cast Their Votes In Adamawa

“We are doing a lot on the part of youth and development, I believe we deserve a second term in office”.

He also reaffirmed the President’s commitment to ensuring that the elections are credible.

Osinbajo is running with President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office under the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Osun Election: Police Arrest Man For Obstructing Voting Process

 

The police have arrested a man perceived to be obstructing the voting process at a polling unit in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

The man was arrested at polling unit 5, Ataoje E in Osogbo.

Election Takes Place In Five African Countries

ElectionVoting is taking place in five countries in Africa which are Benin, Congo-Brazzaville, Niger, Senegal and Zanzibar, in Tanzania.

Nigeriens are voting in a presidential run-off, in which the main challenger, former Prime Minister and parliamentary speaker Hama Amadou, is still in France receiving medical attention, as President Muhammadou Issoufou, hopes to win another term.

Presidential elections are taking place in Congo, Benin, and Zanzibar, where electoral violence marred the presidential elections the last time.

Senegal is voting on presidential term limits that would cut the number of years from Seven to Five for the president, and not allow him to run for more than two consecutive terms in office.

Nigeria’s Election: Voting Begins In Some Polling Units

February electionsVoting has started in some polling units across Nigeria while accreditation of voters is still ongoing in other places.

Channels Television correspondent in Damaturu in Yobe State reports that voting has started.

Voting began at about 1:45pm in Government Secondary School, Damaturu, Yobe State, with large voters turnout.

Voting has also started in some polling units in Ogun, Yobe, Bayelsa and Imo States.

In Otuoke, Bayelsa State, President Goodluck Jonathan and the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, were the first to cast their votes in their polling unit.

Accreditation is still ongoing in other states across the nation, after delays caused by poor functionality of the card readers in some polling units.

 

Fayemi Hails Osinbajo’s Choice As Buhari’s Running Mate

Kayode Fayemi 1Former Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the National Convention Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Kayode Fayemi, has hailed the choice of legal luminary, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as the running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari, 2015 presidential election.

Fayemi, whose committee conducted the APC convention and presidential primary that produced General Buhari as the party’s presidential flag bearer, said in a statement in Lagos on Thursday that Prof Osinbajo’s choice has further reinforced the party’s determination to effect the change which Nigerians have for long clamored for.

Describing Osinbajo as a renowned teacher, legal expert, administrator and a reform-minded technocrat, who embodies the virtues of honesty, integrity, selflessness and dedication to the overall good of the society, Fayemi said the university Don remains a strategic partner to General Buhari in the onerous task of driving the change.

“Every time pundits come up with their doomsday predictions of APC’s imminent collapse, APC comes out stronger right from its founding. The choice of Osinbajo is also leaving us much stronger for the task ahead. I commend General Buhari and other party leaders for arriving at a choice that is bound to strengthen our ticket”, Fayemi said.

Fayemi added that regardless of what skeptics are saying the APC is set to run an issue-based campaign and carry along every segment of the society in the electoral process that would culminate in APC emerging victorious at the 2015 presidential election.

He added that the choice of Buhari as Presidential candidate and Osinbajo as running mate has re-defined the 2015 contest and become a concern to the ruling party.

Fayemi urged Nigerians to support the APC in bringing about the change which the country and its people so urgently need, by voting massively for the party at the coming polls.