President Pombe Magafuli takes an early lead in Tanzania amidst allegation of vote-rigging

Dante Mwandawiro
Written by Dante Mwandawiro

Tanzania’s main opposition leader says there has been “shameless” widespread vote-rigging in Wednesday’s elections. But the National Electoral Commission says the accusations are unfounded. WhatsApp and Twitter, among other sites, are reported to have been blocked.

Voting has been calm and peaceful on the mainland after reports of violence in Zanzibar on Tuesday. Polls closed on time and the counting of votes began immediately. Election results are expected within a week.

President John Magufuli, whose Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM) party has governed Tanzania for decades, is seeking a second term in office. He is expected to be reelected. His main challenger is Tundu Lissu, who survived an assassination attempt three years ago. He returned from Belgium in July where he had undergone rounds of treatment for gunshot wounds.

In all, 15 candidates are running for president – including former foreign minister Bernard Membe, an ex-colleague-turned-critic of Mr. Magufuli who defected from the ruling party.