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When Tanzania voted, many people saw democracy in voting



Nairobi, Kenya-As opposition figures have been harassed and arrested, news coverage has been severely restricted, and social media has mysteriously slowed down, many people have two predictions for the Tanzanian election on Wednesday: The president will win. This country will fail.

Dan Paget, a professor of political science at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, said: “This is a general election of similarities between Tanzania and democracy.”

The election is generally seen as a referendum on Mr. Magfuli, who is seeking a second five-year term, and the revolutionary ruling party that has ruled Tanzanian politics under one or more names since independence in 1

961.

Elected to the anti-corruption platform, Mr. Magufuli, commonly known as “Bulldozer”, has always praised his efforts to strengthen the economy, reduce unnecessary public expenditures and restore infrastructure projects.

But his government has also been accused of intensifying repression. The government suppressed political dissent, supported by the media and right-wing organizations, and passed legislation to strengthen the party’s ability to govern.

It is not clear how the pandemic might affect the election. For one thing, Mr. Magfulli will get nothing. The 60-year-old president declared that Tanzania is free of coronavirus, claiming that the power of prayer will help clear the virus from East African countries.

Regardless of whether it is virus or not, Tanzanians will vote in large numbers.

More than 29 million people registered to vote in more than 80,000 polling stations in mainland Tanzania and the semi-autonomous Zanzibar Islands. They will choose the president, councillors and local councillors. A total of 15 presidential candidates, Magufuli faces the opposition veteran opposition leader Tundu Lissu and former Foreign Secretary Bernard Membe.

When everything is over, there is no doubt that Mr. Magfuli will be the winner. After all, the government has not made it easy for those seeking change.

Opposition groups say the authorities targeted them, accusing them of organizing unauthorized meetings and canceling dozens of congressional candidates. The authorities have also set up barriers for opposition figures who are trying to run for public opinion or obtain pollster qualifications.

Presidential candidate Lissu said: “We must take the oath of office for voting agents because the law requires them to be sworn in before they can enter the polling station.” Assassination attempt in 2017. “It was a struggle.”

A government spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Tuesday, when Zanzibar began early voting, the island’s presidential candidate of the opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency, Shef Sharif Hamad, was arrested. Just hours after his party reported that the police had killed 10 people and wounded 50 people in Zanzibar, it said that citizens had seen the army sent a clear vote.

Witnesses said that the atmosphere in Zanzibar was still tense, shops were closed and police exchanged fire with demonstrators in certain communities.

“The police threw tear gas,” said 32-year-old businessman Omary Mdogwa. “This is to scare people from participating in elections or planning any form of physical confrontation in elections.”

The government rejected Zanzibar’s casualty report. The Inspector of Police Simon Sirro did say that 42 people were arrested and charged with stoning and wounding police cars carrying votes.

Senior diplomats from the United Kingdom and Tanzania in the United States expressed concern about the violence in Zanzibar on Tuesday and demanded restraint. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on Tanzanian political leaders and their supporters to “avoid violence,” and the head of the African Union Moussa Faki Mahamat (Moussa Faki Mahamat) urged the authorities to “ensure an enabling environment. Enable citizens to vote in a safe and peaceful manner.”

Across Tanzania, Internet users reported on Tuesday that bandwidth was reduced and social media and messaging platforms (including Twitter and WhatsApp) were disrupted. A few days ago, the authorities instructed telecommunications companies to restrict a large number of messaging and voice services because of reports that mobile phone users could not send messages with the names of opposition party candidates.

News organizations have also remained silent.

Human rights groups say that the authorities have passed strict legislation, prosecuted and arbitrarily shut down the media to suppress independent reporting of the election. Muthoki Mumo, representative of the Sub-Saharan Africa Committee for the Protection of Journalists, said that since January, they have suspended the activities of at least six media outlets, ranging from one week to 11 months.

Ms. Mumo said that Tanzanian journalists are “full of fear in the face of regulatory violations”. “It’s hard to imagine Tanzania being systematically attacked by the state and can report the election independently and safely.”

The government has revised its online content regulations to expand the scope of prohibited content. Broadcasting regulations have also changed, requiring Tanzanian broadcasters to obtain authorization before using materials produced by foreign media.

The new regulations also require government supervisors to accompany foreign journalists if they are fully allowed to enter the country. Many reporters from outside news organizations, including The New York Times, were not qualified to cover this week’s election.

Major human rights groups were also barred from participating in elections. Human Rights Watch Africa researcher Oryem Nyeko said that this includes the Law and Human Rights Center, which is responsible for coordinating a coalition of non-governmental organizations that have historically monitored the national opinion test.

Mr. Nyeko said in a telephone interview: “Very critical voices have been deleted from the discussion about the election.”

Supporters of Mr. Magfulli say that his record is self-evident.

His government is overseeing plans to build a highly anticipated dam, open a modern railway and revive the country’s airline. According to data from the World Bank, Mr. Magfulli also helped Tanzania’s economy transition from a low-income state to a low- and middle-income state.

Magufuli is a highly skilled speaker. He won the support of ordinary voters. They support large companies and surprisingly visited towns and villages to resolve complaints on the spot.

Aberdeen University professor Paget said in an e-mail that, even if he consolidates his control, Mr. Magfuli still faces fierce opposition, and the opposition launches a broad grassroots campaign at all costs. He said that if this can be rewarded by gaining more seats in parliament, it will be “otherwise it will be a lonely comfort point for the five-year dictatorship winter.”

Many people believe that if Mr. Magufuli is re-elected, the government may become more regressive, formulating political and constitutional reforms, which may include further promotion of term restrictions and restrictions on civil liberties.

Presidential candidate Lissu once described this year’s vote as “without a doubt the most important and most important election in our entire history.”

He said: “This is a set in stone.” “This is a decision of success or failure.”




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