Tanzania’s John Magufuli Faces 14 Others in October Elections

No fewer than 14 political candidates will contest against Tanzania’s President John Magufuli in October’s presidential polls, the elections board announced on Wednesday.

Analysts say a divided opposition is likely to ensure he wins a second term.

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

Lissu was shot in an alleged assassination attempt.

The presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for Oct. 28.

Opposition parties are heading to the polls without a coalition or alliance that helped them gain more votes in the last election.

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Richard Mbunda, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said the lack of trust between parties and their need to use elections as public relations events is the reason there is no alliance.

President Magufuli’s party has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961. He swept to power in 2015 promising to end corruption and expand infrastructure. But his tough governing style has cemented his nickname – the Bulldozer – originally bestowed on him during his time as public works minister.

Rights groups and the opposition have accused Magufuli of increasing repression ahead of the polls and intimidation of political rivals and the press. The administration has denied these accusations.

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