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Ruling Party's Magufuli Wins Tanzania Presidency


Tanzanian presidential candidate of the ruling CCM party, John Magufuli, displays his ballot paper before casting his vote in the presidential and parliamentary election at his hometown Chato district, in Geita region, Tanzania, Oct. 25, 2015.

Tanzania's electoral commission announced Thursday that John Magufuli and his ruling CCM party won the presidency. The opposition and its candidate Edward Lowassa rejected the results, citing alleged fraud.

Tanzania will soon have a new president in office, after the electoral commission finalized its tabulations and announced that John Magufuli was elected with more than 58 percent the vote.

The election season has been a highly contested one, after opposition candidate Edward Lowassa defected from ruling party CCM over the summer and launched a competitive opposition coalition.

Lowassa has rejected the official results that gave him about 40 percent of the vote.

Dar es Salaam businessman Fabian Kasonya, who describes himself as "politically neutral," said Tanzanians will find Magufuli to be a good president. Magufuli has been serving as Tanzania’s minister of works.

“They know his capacity of doing work, because when he was minister, the previous minister there, he did well, so we expect that even in time to come, he will do well,” said Kasonya.

And university student Danford Hamissi believes that people's political differences won’t matter once the newly elected president is sworn in.

“So, he’s going to be the president for all Tanzanians, regardless of their parties or their political beliefs,” he said.

But some are not so pleased with the elections outcome. The lead opposition candidate, Edward Lowassa, called for a nationwide recount Wednesday, alleging irregularities.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the electoral commission in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, Jecha Salim Jecha, annulled that region's results Wednesday for what he called "shortfalls" in polling. He announced fresh elections would be held.

Legal expert Charles Rwechungura said the annulment of Zanzibar's vote could create problems for Magufuli.

“Because the president has to appoint a cabinet within a given time and the cabinet members are drawn from both sides of the union," he said.

"Now," he added, "what is going to happen if elections don’t take place soon enough in Zanzibar, that means he will find himself in a dilemma. He cannot appoint his cabinet as the constitution requires.”

So the election drama of the past week appears set to continue. But the streets of Dar es Salaam remained peaceful Thursday as people absorbed the election results.