A Tanzania National Electoral Commission official prepares ballot boxes as early morning queues of voters start to form at Wazo Hill polling station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on October 28, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

Polling Stations

  • Polling stations opened on 28 October at 07:00 and voters will have until 16:00 to cast their ballots. The results are expected to be released one week from today.
  • The opposition has raised claims that their party agents have been denied entry into some polling stations – Civic United Front (CUF), the National Convention for Construction and Reform – Mageuzi (NCCR) and ACT-Wazalendo agents in Ngamiani South, Zanzibar were taken into police custody after they reportedly blocked voters from entering the polling station because they had been denied access.

Election Campaign Concerns

  • On the eve of election day opposition candidate, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, of ACT-Wazalendo in Zanzibar, was arrested as he attempted to cast his ballot early. He was later released from police custody.
  • Deogratias Munishi (Head of Foreign Affairs of CHADEMA) tweeted on 27 October that “Tundu Lissu is supposed to address his final Presidential Campaign Rally in Dar es Salaam today. #TCAA have rejected issuing permit for his chopper to land in Dar es Salaam from Kilimanjaro. He’ll now fly without landing permit to teach authorities a lesson!”
  • CHADEMA officials on 28 October claimed on that its parliamentary candidate for Kawe in Dar es Salaam, Kalima Mdee was under police custody just hours after the polling stations opened.

Election Violence

  • Voters clashed with security forces on Monday 26 October in an attempt to stop them from distributing ballot boxes. Reports allege that the boxes contained pre-ticket ballots. Since Monday, 11 people have died due to clashes with Tanzanian security forces. The police are disputing that any deaths occurred due to these clashes.
  • Deogratias Munishi (Head of Foreign Affairs of CHADEMA) tweeted on 27 October that “Chacha Ngabia & Chacha Nyaitoti (CHADEMA’s polling agents) were shot dead this afternoon while attending the final councillorship campaign rally for Matongo Ward in Tarime Rural. The killers (CCM’s Cadres) invaded the rally & started shooting.”

 

 

Tanzanian police officers patrol outside Garagara Playground polling station in Mtoni, Zanzibar, on October 28, 2020. PHOTO: PATRICK MEINHARDT/AFP

Internet Shutdown

  • The communications authority in Tanzania ordered telecom companies to suspend bulk short messaging and bulk short calling services over the election period. This included access to social media sites like Twitter and WhatsApp. Opposition parties have relied heavily on these sites to rally against the CCM due to their limited coverage on local news stations and coupled with the restrictions on political gatherings – there is limited freedom of association in a political sense.
  • Internet users across Tanzania have reported that some sites, including WhatsApp and Twitter, are being restricted as millions of people vote in the general election.

International Election Observers

  • The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, on 27 October called for peaceful, inclusive and credible polls. The Chairperson called on all stakeholders, political parties and their supporters to participate in the voting process peacefully and to refrain from any acts of violence. He further urged the authorities to ensure a conducive environment to enable citizens to cast their votes in a safe and peaceful manner.
  • President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation issued a statement on 27 October regarding the general elections in Tanzania:

“In view of the challenges brought about the COVID-19 pandemic, the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) could not be physically deployed to the United Republic of Tanzania. Instead, SADC adopted a virtual approach of consultation with electoral stakeholders in the furtherance of the consolidation of democracy in the region, in accordance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).

I wish to commend the people of the United Republic of Tanzania for the peaceful and exemplary manner in which they have conducted themselves during the election campaign period, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, I urge all citizens to maintain the same spirit as they cast their ballots.”

  • Tanzania Elections Watch – The Panel of Eminent Persons, drawn from East and Southern Africa, continues to monitor developments in Tanzania leading up to the general election and released a statement differing in tone and substance from both that of the AU and the SADC. They condemned the violence that has reportedly escalated in Zanzibar leading up to voting day. They have also raised concerns over the heavy-handed force shown by security forces and the restriction of communication services ahead of the election.

 

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