Tanzania: Voting Starts in Zanzibar Amid Sporadic Violence

Security personnel and workers from the Zanzibar Electoral Commission line up to cast early votes at the Mwembeshauri polling station in Unguja on Tuesday, October 27.

Zanzibar — With the rest of Tanzania voting in the General Election on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, polling started in Zanzibar for some groups on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

Polling stations opened as early as 7am to allow defence and security personnel and officials of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission to cast their votes so that they can effectively supervise polling on Wednesday.

The exercise started peacefully in the morning, but there were reports of sporadic violence in some areas in Mjini Magharibi Region, prompting police to fire teargas to bring the situation under control.

'The Citizen' witnessed violence at Daraja Bovu, Kilumi, Somondo, Msumbiji and Mikunguni areas in Mjini Magharibi Region, which are largely opposition strongholds.

In some areas, rowdy youth set tyres on fire on roads.

Police said they were forced to fire teargas to disperse people who were stoning vehicles that were distributing ballot boxes.

"We sensed that some civilians were out to disrupt peace and decided to act," Mjini Magharibi Regional Police Commander Awadh Juma Haji told 'The Citizen'.

While Tuesday's voting exercise was for special groups, Mr Haji said some civilians who were supposed to vote on Wednesday were seen at polling stations, adding that this was an indication "that they were out to disrupt peace, prompting police to act accordingly".

He said the situation had since returned to normal, and voting was proceeding peacefully.

Reported by Bakari Kiango, Kalunde Jamal and Haji Mtumwa

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