The police fired tear gas and opposition leaders said dozens of supporters were arrested Monday in Tanzania as votes were slowly tabulated from the presidential election over the weekend. Many observers, foreign and domestic alike, said this election was going to be the tightest and most turbulent in Tanzania’s history. The nation holds a special place in Africa as one of the most peaceful on the continent. But this time, a well-financed opposition coalition is challenging the governing party’s decades-long lock on power, and some Tanzanians have been fearful about the result. On Monday evening, the governing party’s candidate, John Magufuli, a chemist and minister of public works, was leading Edward Lowassa, the most popular opposition figure, by a ratio of nearly two to one, according to preliminary results from a small number of constituencies.
Mr. Lowassa, the opposition candidate, accused the election commission of selectively releasing results to “psychologically weaken” opposition supporters. He said that dozens of young volunteers had been arrested at tallying centers on Sunday night and Monday morning for simply doing their jobs: conducting their own tabulation of early figures. The police denied arresting anyone.
Tanzanian law says that only the national election commission can release presidential results. Police officers used tear gas on the island of Zanzibar to scatter demonstrators there who were celebrating what they said was an opposition win in a local race.