Tanzania Election Challengers Cry Foul as Campaigning Begins

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Tanzania’s opposition leaders alleged foul play by President John Magufuli’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party as tensions rise in the run up to a general election on Oct. 28.

The main opposition Chadema party and the ACT-Wazalendo said hundreds of their candidates were barred after objections filed by the ruling party.

“Our parliamentary candidates and those of ACT-Wazalendo countrywide have been unlawfully disqualified,” Chadema leader Tundu Lissu said on his Twitter account. “There’s no credible democratic election without opposition candidates.”

Magufuli, who is seeking a second five-year term, has won plaudits for improving government efficiency, but faces growing criticism at home and abroad for cracking down on dissent. Nevertheless, analysts forecast he will secure a comfortable win if opposition parties do not unite behind one candidate.

Lissu, who launched his campaign Friday, is seen as Magufuli’s main challenger. He returned to Tanzania last month from self-imposed exile in Europe after surviving an assassination attempt in 2017.

Seif Sharif Hamad, the ACT-Wazalendo presidential candidate in the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar, told supporters to be prepared. “Enough is enough,” he said of party members being barred from the race.

Wilson Mahera Charles, the director of the East African country’s National Electoral Commission said the opposition’s allegations would be investigated and pledged “free, fair and credible polls.”

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