Has Magufuli Steered Tanzania to Authoritarian One-Party State?

The National Electoral Commission declared incumbent, John Magufuli, the winner of the October 28, general elections. Magufuli received 84.4% of the vote while his closest challenger, Chadema's Tundu Lissu, garnered only 13%.The ruling party also won 261 of the 264 parliamentary seats. This represents 98.86% of the total. Similar results were reported in Zanzibar where the presidential candidate Hussein Mwinyi was declared the winner with 76.6% of the votes. But the elections on the island and on the Tanzanian mainland were marred by serious irregularities and poll violence. After the poll, opposition leaders were arrested and detained and civilians were shot by the police. There were repeated arbitrary arrests and detentions of opposition politicians, a rise in police brutality, as well as a crackdown on the media and civil society. The two main opposition parties, Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo, dismissed the elections as fraudulent and called for nationwide protests. The government responded by arresting, and then releasing Chadema Chairman Freeman Mbowe and other party officials. Presidential candidate Tundu Lissu, who survived an assassination attempt in 2018, was also apprehended and later released. He has now left the country for fear of political persecution, writes Nicodemus Minde for The Conversation Africa.

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