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29 million Tanzanians head to polls in general elections

General elections are being held in Tanzania on Wednesday, October 28, to elect the President and National Assembly. 

About 29 million registered head to the polls to elect new leaders. 

 

Reports indicate that polls opened with voters streaming to polling stations across the country early on Wednesday morning before the polls opened. 

 

Voters have until 4pm - Tanzanian time - to cast their ballot, with results expected to be announced within one week. 

 

Early voting kicked off on Tuesday, October 27, in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, with some special groups such as defense and security personnel casting their vote early so that they ably fulfil their duties and responsibilities come Wednesday. 

Who are the main candidates?

There are 15 presidential candidates in the election where incumbent President John Magufuli, 61, will face off with main challenger Tundu Lissu. 

John Magufuli 

Magufuli, the candidate of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has uninterruptedly governed Tanzania – along with its predecessor, the Tanzania African National Union party (TANU) – since independence in 1961, is seeking a second and final five-year term in office. 

Analysts see Magufuli, a former minister of public works as having higher chances of winning the election. 

Magufuli, a father of five, is a devout Catholic who has, among others, pledged to continue the fight against corruption and wasteful spending of public money. 

In addition to relentlessly battling corruption, Magufuli has pursued mega projects including the Mwalimu Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project in Rufiji, the standard gauge railway, and revival of the national carrier. 

Tundu Lissu 

Widely seen as the main challenger, Tundu Lissu, a lawyer by training, is the candidate for the main opposition party Chadema. A staunch critic of Magufuli, the 55-year-old’s hopes were boosted after his recent endorsement by leaders of the ACT-Wazalendo party. 

He first joined elective politics as a member of parliament in 2010. In 2017, Lissu, a fierce government critic, survived an assassination attempt in the administrative capital, Dodoma. He spent nearly three years in exile, first in Kenya and then Belgium, where he underwent treatment. 

Other presidential challengers include former Foreign Minister Bernard Membe, 66, and economist-turned-politician Ibrahim Lipumba. 

Others include Seif Sharif Hamad, 77, the presidential candidate for Zanzibar under the flag of opposition party ACT-Wazalendo (Alliance for Change and Transparency), and Hussein Mwinyi, 53, CCM's presidential candidate for Zanzibar, and Minister for Defence and National Security of Tanzania. Mwinyi is the son of Tanzania’s second president, Ally Hassan Mwinyi.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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