Tanzanians vote in general elections; opposition alleges 'irregularities'
Many Tanzanians are heading to the polls in both parliamentary and presidential elections, in which President John Magufuli hope for another five-year term, and the opposition candidate has already alleged widespread irregularities.
Polls opened in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in the country this Wednesday for more than 29 million people who have registered to cast their vote.
Voting will go on until 4 p.m. local time.
“The voting process is good, calm,” stated a local pastor, Clement Fumbo. “I expect the elections to continue to be peaceful, fair and free.”
Incumbent Magufuli voted in the capital, Dodoma, earlier today, asking people to turn out to vote.
"We also need to maintain our peace and I always say there is life after elections," he commented.
The opposition presidential candidate, Tundu Lissu, claimed on Wednesday that “widespread irregularities" were taking place in the elections.
"Voting reports indicate widespread irregularities in the form of preventing our polling agents from accessing polling stations," Lissu commented on Twitter, saying that ballot boxes had been stuffed in some places.
"If this continues, mass democratic action will be the only option to protect the integrity of the elections," he said.
Observers also expressed grave concern over the fairness of the elections.
Many have stated that major social media networks such as WhatsApp and Twitter had been blocked all across the country.
Local and international observers announced that the East African country has seen a worrying crackdown on the opposition and freedom of speech during Magufuli's government.
The president's rival, Lissu, a survivor of an assassination attempt that took place three years ago, came back from exile earlier this year to campaign for the presidency.
Lissu was banned from campaigning for an entire week earlier this month for making "seditious" comments, authorities have said. He has asked people to take to the streets if election results are announced on Thursday without having been counted correctly.