Tanzania’s ruling party candidate has been declared the winner of a controversial presidential election marred by claims of vote rigging and fears of violence. John Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his track record as works minister, won 58.46% of the vote, compared with 39.97% for his main rival, Edward Lowassa. “I duly declare John Pombe Magufuli to have been duly elected president of the United Republic of Tanzania,” the head of the electoral commission, Damian Lubuva, said on Thursday. Lowassa has refused to recognise the result, alleging that the electronic system used to count the votes had been manipulated. “We refuse to accept this attempt to rob the citizens of Tanzania of their democratic rights, which is being done by the national electoral commission by announcing results which are not the actual results.
“We are requesting that the national electoral commission announces that Edward Lowassa is the winner of the presidency of the United Republic of Tanzania,” a spokesperson said.
As it stands, the margin of victory is surprisingly comfortable for Magafuli and his Party of the Revolution (CCM). Analysts had expected a much closer race, while the main opposition coalition talked up its chances of unseating Africa’s longest-serving ruling party.