Tanzania’s President John Magufuli wins re-election in controversial election, promises to work with rivals

Tanzania’s re-elected President John Pombe Magufuli sits with fellow contestants at a ceremony to award certificates to winners of the elections at the National Electoral Commision (NEC) headquarters within the Njedengwa suburb of Dodoma, Tanzania.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has promised to work with his rivals after a landslide victory in an election his leading opponent described as a travesty and the United States said was marred by widespread irregularities.

The overture comes ahead of demonstrations that opposition has called for on Monday to protest against the poll’s results.

“I will be the servant of all Tanzanians. I would like to thank my fellow presidential contestants for participating,” Magufuli said at a function in the capital Dodoma where he formally accepted the results.

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According to results announced by the country’s poll body on Friday, Magufuli secured 84% of the vote against his leading opponent Tindu Lissu’s 13%.

“I promise to work with you to ensure we are pushing for the national development. Development is non-partisan … politics is not a war, politics is not a conflict, we are all Tanzanians.”

On Saturday Lissu’s CHADEMA party and another opposition party ACT-Wazalendo rejected the results, called for protests and demanded a fresh poll be held.

The United States has said it was concerned about reports showing “systematic interference in the democratic process” during the election.

The vote was marred by allegations of irregularities, including the use of force against unarmed civilians, pre-ticking of ballots, the detention of opposition officials and restrictions on political party agents accessing polling stations, the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam said.

Nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, Magufuli is praised by some for pushing through big-impact infrastructure projects and a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

But his critics accuse his government of intolerance and authoritarianism that has included a crackdown on critical voices, closure of some media outlets and preventing opposition rallies.

Officials deny the accusations.

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