The Republic of Tanzania is going into polls to vote for the presidency tomorrow, October 28, 2020. This is the first time the elections will be held on a weekday after religious institutions earlier called for the change of day so that the prayers on the weekend can get the respect they deserve.
Like any other democracy, the candidates, both opposition and the ruling Chama cha Mapendunzi’s (CCM) John Pombe Magufuli have concluded an eventful campaign trail amidst the coronavirus. It should be noted that the incumbent earlier declared Tanzania a COVID free despite criticism around the world on how the East African nation handled the pandemic.
The opposition has come out to cast doubts and reservations on the fairness and integrity of the whole election process, with main opposition challenger Tundu Lissu accusing the security organs of prohibiting him from campaigning for no reason. The campaign trail also saw Lissu’s party Chadema’s Arusha offices allegedly destroyed by regime operatives.
Who are the main candidates?
John Pombe Magufuli
Born on 29th October 1959, the professional Chemistry, Maths teacher was first elected as a member of parliament in1995 and served as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000 before he was promoted to Minister of the same ministry from 2000 to 2006. He was appointed Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015 when he ran as a candidate of CCM in the October polls that year. Magufuli’s presidency has been marked by a focus on reducing government corruption and spending and also investing in Tanzania’s industries that have seen the country reach middle-income status. However, he has also been accused of intolerance to criticism.
Born on 20th January 1968, Lissu is a Tanzanian lawyer who has been a member of Parliament representing Singida East Constituency since 2010. The former president of the Tanzania Law Society has made his name a major critic of the Magufuli reign a stance that has seen him survive an assassination attempt. In the afternoon of September 7 2017 during a parliamentary session break, Tundu Lissu, whilst in his car, was shot multiple times and seriously injured by unknown assailants in the parking lot of his parliamentary residence in Area D, Dodoma. This happened mere weeks after Lissu declared publicly that certain people instructed by IGP Sirro had been stalking him for weeks. Various political commentators said it was a politically motivated attack an accusation the no-nonsense Magufuli did not entertain. Lissu was airlifted to Belgium where he stayed in exile till July 27 and had a frightening 19 operations. Upon return from exile, he was chosen as the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) flag bearer in tomorrow’s polls.