Foreign Missions Call For Free, Fair Elections In Tanzania

Ten foreign missions in Tanzania have charged the country’s electoral authority on the conduct of a “free and fair” elections next month.

The charge by missions representing Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands comes amidst increased repression of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the missions said security for all contestants and impartiality of institutions in charge of managing the elections will “strengthen the legitimacy of the elections”.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday accused the Tanzanian government of repressing opposition parties and non-governmental organisations ahead of next month’s elections.

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The group criticised new media restrictions which prevent media outlets from covering politically sensitive topics, alleging that the government arrested at least 17 opposition party members and critics.

It says it is no coincidence that the Tanzanian government has increased its repression so close to October’s elections.

Last week private broadcast media, Clouds TV, was suspended for announcing election statistics that had not been approved by the electoral body.

In next month elections, President John Magufuli will face 14 challengers as he seeks a second term.

His main challengers are predicted to be Tundu Lissu, who returned to Tanzania last month after spending close to three years in Belgium for gunshot treatment and ex-foreign minister Bernard Membe, who was expelled from the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party in February.

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