Jonathan Leads AU Observer Team To Monitor Tanzania Polls

Jonathan tweeted some photos of himself and other members of the AU Observer Team at some of the polling units.

“The African Union sees today’s polls as yet another opportunity for the good people of the United Republic of Tanzania to deepen democracy and peace in the country,” the former Nigerian leader said.

See photos below:

Overshadowed By Malpractice Fears

Tanzanians began casting their ballots Wednesday morning in an election overshadowed by opposition fears the vote will not be free and fair after years of repression under President John Magufuli, who is seeking a second term in office.

In semi-autonomous Zanzibar hundreds of men and women formed separate queues from before dawn in Garagara neighbourhood outside the capital Stone Town, where on Tuesday police fired teargas, live rounds and beat up civilians in the neighbourhood.

Long deemed a haven of stability in East Africa, observers say Tanzania has seen the stifling of democracy and a crackdown on freedom of speech under the 60-year-old Magufuli and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since 1961.

In the days leading up to the polls, the opposition said 10 people have died in violence in Zanzibar, while major social media networks — such as WhatsApp and Twitter — have been blocked across Tanzania.

Mnao Haji, 48, queuing to vote in Garagara, said she hoped the election “will be peaceful” despite a history of contested polls.

“During the clashes with police teargas fell inside my house. I screamed, crying, I was helpless,” she said as heavily armed officers and soldiers looked on.

On mainland Tanzania, Magufuli’s main challenger among 15 presidential candidates is Tundu Lissu, 52, of the Chadema opposition party.

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