TANZANIA: John Magufuli Wins Presidential Elections

DAR ES SALAAM OCTOBER 30 (CISA) – Tanzania’s governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party candidate John Magufuli has won the presidential elections, the National Electoral Commission announced on Thursday October 29.

Mr Magufuli who turned 56 on Thursday won with 8,882,935 votes (58 percent) to his closest rival Mr Edward Lowassa’s 6,072,848 votes (40 percent) in a closely contested election held October 25.

“This day is big and very important in my life. On my birthday, I have got approval from Tanzanians to lead them in the position of president,” Mr Magufuli said following his win.

Mr Lowassa who was the opposition’s Ukawa coalition candidate rejected the official results and filed a petition with the election commission demanding a recount.  He earlier claimed he had won with 62 percent of the vote.

Married with five children, Mr Magufuli is a devout Catholic who was born in north-western Tanzania’s Chato district along the shores of Lake Victoria. He is a former school teacher, industrial chemist and works minister in the outgoing government.

As works minister, Mr Magufuli was reputed to be a no-nonsense, results-driven politician and became known as “The Bulldozer” for driving a programme to build roads across the country.

A CCM loyalist since 1977, Mr Magufuli was elected MP in 1995 and his victory extends the rule of CCM which has been in power since independence in the 1960s. During the campaigns, he pledged to end power shortages and exploit Tanzania’s natural gas discoveries.

Elsewhere in Zanzibar, elections for the semi-autonomous archipelago’s parliament and president were annulled on Wednesday October 28.

According to Jecha Salum Jecha, Zanzibar’s election chief the poll had been marred by gross irregularities, including rigging and physical fights between rival election commissioners.