The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party won 84% of the vote according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), while the main opposition candidate for the presidency, Tundu Lissu, received 13%.
In the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, CCM won 76.27% marking one of the best election results for Africa’s longest-serving party since multiparty democracy was introduced in 1995.
Long-held opposition seats have been lost to CCM candidates, many of whom were running for the first time. Opposition leaders accuse the ruling party of banning opposition agents from polling stations, repeat voting and forcing fake votes into ballot boxes.
ACT-Wazalendo opposition leader Zitto Kabwe alleges his constituency was “forcefully taken” by the ruling party, adding to similar claims by other politicians like Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe. Kabwe claimed the result reflected Tanzania’s transformation into “a full-blown one-party dictatorship.”
Zanzibar’s opposition suffered its worst official loss in history after CCM bagged 76.27% of the vote in an archipelago that is generally known to oppose the ruling party.
Pemba, the archipelago’s northern island, lost 14 of its 18 seats to CCM despite having not lost a single constituency in all previous elections except for 2015, when the opposition boycotted the vote.
Khalifa Said, a freelance investigative journalist, said: “It is ridiculous. It has never happened that any presidential candidate has won by that much. Elections in Zanzibar tend to be very competitive and it is very unlikely that the candidate can even get 60% of the vote.”
Analysts believe that Magufuli engineered a commanding lead so that he can amend the constitution and extend term limits.
To do this he must secure an absolute majority in both Zanzibar and on the mainland.
The US Embassy in Tanzania issued a statement on Thursday saying that it has found the allegations made by opposition parties, civil society groups and election observers of voter fraud and intimidation “credible.”
Chadema’s Lissu, the main opposition candidate, who has announced that he will not accept the election result, said there was “unprecedented levels of fraud and use of force in this election that stole the will of the people.”
He added that he will ask the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged crimes against humanity by the security forces in Tanzania, after reports of police brutality in Zanzibar and other areas on the mainland.