ON 27th October at his final campaign rally in Dar es Salaam, Tundu Lissu, Tanzania’s presidential candidate for the opposition, said that sources within the National Electoral Commission (NEC) had confided to him that the electoral body had already allocated about 12 million votes for the incumbent, President John Magufuli. Coincidentally, NEC confirmed Lissu’s revelation when it announced the official results of the presidential election on 30th October. Magufuli obtained 12.5 million votes against Lissu’s 1.9 million.
Clearly, the election results were influenced and rigged in favour of the incumbent, who is seeking a second term in office. It is a culmination of Magufuli’s warning to electoral officials, a few years ago, that he would not tolerate anyone who would declare the opposition candidate as a winner while it is him (Magufuli) who appointed them and pays their salaries.
All electoral irregularities and systemic oppression against the opposition, before and during the campaign, were part of the rigging game. But it was executed with little dexterity.
The opposition raised their voice, and the Tanzania Elections Watch, a panel of eminent persons in the East and Southern African block, who also monitored the electoral process, underlined these anomalies. In their preliminary report released yesterday Friday morning, TEW says:
“We are concerned that the incidents reported so far in the process bear questions on the credibility of the electoral process.”
TEW insists that the election was not credible. Its full report is available here.
The ruling party, of which Magufuli is chairman, used the armed forces and the already compromised electoral commission to overturn the people’s will in favour of the incumbent. In the course of forging the figures, the electoral commission fell short of a few facts.
While it had announced a few weeks ago that the number of registered voters was 29,804,992, it changed the number during the tallying process to 29,754,699.
Moreover, it is unthinkable for such a vibrant and solid party as Chadema, which has about eight million members to obtain only 1.9 million votes in such a vigorously fought campaign and with a charismatic candidate of the calibre of Lissu. What would have made six million members to not vote for their own candidate, whom they supported and defended against all odds, both morally and financially?
The results, and the fast speed at which they were delivered, confirm the allegations of the opposition, serious election observers and the media about the commission printing extra ballot papers in Dar es Salaam, many ballot boxes stuffed with pre-marked votes, and some results forms filled in before the polling day – the main reason for police to prevent the opposition polling agents from overseeing the voting process.
The election had been decided by the authorities. The polling exercise was simply ceremonial. Lissu, during his press conference on Thursday, said: “It is not an election.”