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Tanzania Electoral Body to Present Certificate to President-elect

Supporter of the ruling CCM party in Tanzania celebrate after the party’s presidential candidate, John Pombe Magufuli was declared a winner, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 29, 2015.

The chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania said John Magufuli, the candidate of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party (CCM) and winner of the October 25 presidential election, would officially be presented with a victory certificate on Friday.

The ceremony is scheduled to be held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall Exhibition Center in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Officials said the government would have to come up with the date and time for Magufuli’s swearing in before he can take over from outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete.

The electoral commission declared Magufuli president-elect after he garnered 58.46 percent of the total vote cast in the presidential poll. Main challenger Edward Lowassa of the opposition coalition UKAWA came in second with 39 percent.

Lowassa and the opposition coalition have rejected the outcome of the election, calling for a total recount. But a majority of the international poll observers have described the election as peaceful and credible.

Electoral commission chairman Damian Lubuva said this year’s vote was competitive, adding that the general election was peaceful and transparent.

“The election was highly contested. It was highly competitive. Nevertheless, at the end of it all it was generally conducted peacefully until today when we announced the winner that I think I am proud of that,” said Lubuva. “We tried our best and it ended up as I might describe as a peaceful manner, but transparency, free and fair, despite the fact that you may have, in certain quarters, some may be complaining of this or that, but I for one, together with my colleagues …We are satisfied that we did all we could. And the international observers, many of them who are availed to us, the interim report, their finding was that it was free and fair and transparent."

Supporters of the opposition accused the electoral commission of showing prejudice in announcing election results. They contend the electoral commission released results from certain constituencies in which the party wasn’t strong, while releasing results of the ruling party showing the CCM stronger in those areas.

Lubuva says the electoral commission is aware of UWAKA’s complaints, but said the opposition failed to utilize established procedures to challenge the tallying of the election results before the outcome was announced.

He says the electoral commission only released results available to them at the time. Lubuva also says the opposition alliance’s calls were not consistent, adding that they seem to be “shifting grounds” in their protests.

“That we have heard, but it is untenable because there is no basis for a recount, and the law provides clearly at what stage you can call for a recount,” said Lubuva. “In the various polling stations the [party] agents can indicate their dissatisfaction and call for a recount, but beyond that a recount is really not called for. So we have heard of Chadema sort of urging, but on our part we felt that that was not called for.”

The electoral commission is expected to write an official report about the conduct of the October 25 presidential, legislative and local election, which would be presented to the government, according to Lubuva.

He thanked Tanzanians for remaining peaceful and actively participating in the electoral process.

“What I will tell them is that they should maintain that peace. They have shown a sense of maturity with regards to democracy and so on. We should cooperate with the newly-elected in parliament for a better Tanzania, and more progress and more, perhaps, matured democracy,” said Lubuva.