Fri, 04 Dec 2020

Tanzanians Head to Polls to Vote for President, Lawmakers

Voice of America
28 Oct 2020, 23:35 GMT+10

Tanzania's 29 million eligible voters are lining up at polling places Wednesday to decide whether to re-elect President John Magufuli amid accusations of eroding democracy and human rights.

Magufuli is facing 14 challengers in his quest for a second five-year term, including main opposition candidate Tundu Lissu, who survived a assassination attempt in 2017.

Human rights groups say Magufuli's government has stifled independent news outlets through intimidation and harassment. There are also reports that internet service throughout the East African nation has slowed to a crawl.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa in Tanzania (MISA) says that in the days leading up to the election, they have recorded a number of incidents of police harassing reporters.

In addition to president, Tanzanians are also voting for representatives to the country's 264-seat parliament. Magufuli's Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has ruled Tanzania since gaining its independence from Britain in 1961.

Tanzania was once considered an oasis of peace in the East and Central Africa region. The country has sheltered refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and other neighbors - and served as principal peace mediator during times of trouble. Tanzania is a major player in the region as a founding member of the six-nation East African Community bloc.

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