On Thursday 29th of October, The Election Commission in Tanzania declared the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) presidential candidate John Magufuli (picture on the left) the winner of the presidential election with 58% of the total votes. The new CCM president is taking over from Jakaya Kikwete, who is standing down after two terms in office. Magufuli got 2 million votes more than his main rival, Edward Lowassa, the presidential candidate from the UKAWA coalition which has been established by 4 opposition parties in order to challenge the CCM led government. Lowassa recently joined the biggest opposition party Chama Cha Demokrasia Na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) and it is the first time that opposition parties have come together with a single candidate to challenge the CCM led government. Although CCM was able to secure two-thirds majority in parliament, the opposition managed to win more than 70 parliamentary seats, which is the most since multiparty democracy came into effect in 1995 and a major step forward for the opposition. The elections on Sunday were the most competitive in Tanzania’s history of CCM 54 year rule. As a surprise to many people, 9 Tanzanian government ministers lost their parliamentary seats to the UKAWA coalition, including high-profile CCM ministers such as the minister for agriculture. The ruling party lost seats in key areas of the country, including the urban centers of Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Kilimanjaro.
Winner of the presidential election, John Magufuli from ruling party CCM
Will peace continue?
Following the announcement of the new president of Tanzania, CCM supporters were celebrating the results in the streets of Dar es Saalam while groups from the opposition parties demonstrated and claimed the elections had not been free and fair. Now it is the hope in Tanzania, that the country can stay peaceful following the announcements of results and the annuled election on Zanzibar. Clashes between rivalling parties have been reported and some has led to arrestments. Police has used tear gas to control some of the demonstrations following the elections on Sunday, but fortunately no use of excessive powers have been used so far by the police. The day of the election was generally peaceful and many people came out to cast their votes. Both the presidential candidates, John Magufuli from the ruling party CCM and Edward Lowassa of the opposition (UKAWA), have both strongly called for peace ahead of the election. Although polling lines were very long at many of the 63,000 polling stations nationwide, people queued patiently for their turn, many waiting since the early hours of the morning. The voter turn up was very high with 68% of the population voting compared to only 40% in the 2010 elections.
International observers have largely praised the conduct of Sunday’s vote. According to the European Union election observers, the elections were generally well organised, despite irregularities in some polling stations and insufficient efforts at transparency from the election administrations. Observers also emphasized that state media failed to provide equitable and fair coverage of the campaigns and a level playing field for contestant. The elections “were highly contested, largely well administered, although insufficient efforts at transparency meant that both the National Electoral Commission and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission did not enjoy the full confidence of all parties”, the EU observers said in a statement. Observer teams from the African Union and SADC also said that the vote had largely been “free and fair” despite their raised concern over the annulment of Zanzibar’s local elections. Both CCM and CHADEMA have stated that there were shortcomings in the administration of the polls Sunday.
Cancellation of elections in Zanzibar
In the semi-autonomous Zanzibar the elections for president and the archipelago’s parliament were annulled by the National Election Commission on Wednesday due to what Zanzibar Electoral Commission chairman Jecha Salim Jecha has called gross irregularities, including double voting, rigging and physical fights between rival election commissioners. When the re-election will take place has not yet been decided and the opposition is strongly opposing this as they believe this is an attempt to challenge the opposition party Civic United Front (CUF) winning the election as Zanzibar has traditionally been a CUF stronghold. International as well as national actors have shown their huge concern about the cancellation and call for Zanzibar Election Commission chairman to recall his statements. The EU also expressed concerns about lack of transparency in the electoral bodies both in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar as against their conclusion that the election was free and fair. It is still unclear when possible new elections for Zanzibar’s president and parliament will be held. The opposition parties are saying they will only accept a reelection if this is under international observation.
Reports are made about Police in Zanzibar fired teargas to disperse opposition supporters after Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself winner of the presidential election on the island, ahead of incumbent and CCM candidate, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein.
Clashes were reported in other parts of the country between rival supporters and with the police, testing Tanzania.
Major improvements for women: From special seats to now winning constituencies
Voters search for their names at a polling station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Oct. 25, 2015. Photo by Monika Emch/Flickr
As election results from the presidential and parliamentary seats are being announced by the National Election Commission, there is a great success to be celebrated within the area of women in politics. Results clearly show that women have proved their power by winning in some of the constituencies that have traditionally been won by influential men. This includes CHADEMA’s Esther Matiko, who used to be special seats MP in the dissolved Parliament but this time around was able to defeat long-serving MP and minister for Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives. In Tabora Region, Magdalena Sakaya from CUF who also served in the previous parliament as special seats legislator made it to parliament after having won over a long serving MP and Cabinet Minister. Tanzania also made history by electing the country’s first female vice president from CCM, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
The victory of the female politicians can be seen as a result of a number of leadership and empowerment strategies, which encouraged women to compete in constituencies regardless of the seat provision. As a result of this, 10 women have contested for the first time in the constituencies. The special seats for women, however, still played an important role in the 2015 elections, as the majority of the women who made their entrance in the constituencies won due to this scheme. One of the organizations that have worked tediously towards getting more women actively engaged in politics, is the Tanzania Centre for Multiparty Democracy, whom DIPD supports specifically to strengthen the capacity of women to take on leadership positions in their political parties.
2014 multiparty event in Tanzania in relation to the launch of the DIPD publication ”Political Parties at Local Level” in Kiswahili
The Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy has a 3 year partnership on a democracy project with Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD). In addition, the Danish Conservative People’s Party has formed a democracy project with the opposition party CHADEMA and the Danish Social-Liberal Party supports a democracy project with Civic United Front. Both with funding from DIPD. Read more details about the projects below.
For more information contact DIPD Coordinator Susanne Adelhardt at: firstname.lastname@example.org
DIPD supports the following democracy projects in Tanzania:
|DIPD and Tanzania Centre for Democracy
|Since March 2012 DIPD and Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), which is governed by all the political parties in parliament, have had a partnership. The current 2014-2017 project seeks to support multiparty democracy in Tanzania through a strengthening of the multiparty dialogue processes and the ability of political parties to perform their democratic functions.
|The Conservative People’s Party of Denmark and CHADEMA
|The Danish Conservative People’s Party (Det Konservative Folkeparti) has been in partnership with one of the leading opposition parties Chama Cha Demokrasia Na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) since 2013. The current democracy project seeks to increase the representation and influence of women and youth in the party and strengthen the party organisation.
|The Danish Social-Liberal Party and Tanzania’s Civic United Front
|The Danish political party, the Social-Liberals (Radikale Venstre) entered a democracy project partnership with the Civic United Front in 2012. The purpose of the current 2015-2017 project is to increase the representation of women, youth and marginalised groups in the party.