Tanzania’s ruling party on Saturday nominated President John Magufuli to seek re-election in October.
Magufuli, who was elected in 2015, has in his first term been accused of narrowing freedoms and increasing authoritarianism and seeking to cover up his country’s coronavirus epidemic.
Members of his ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) who were present at a national congress broadcast live from the administrative capital Dodoma voted for Magufuli, the only candidate seeking the nomination.
“I’m elected by all members of this meeting but let us not expect to win the general election by 100 percent. I thank you all for your endorsement but let’s work hard and sell our manifesto,” Magufuli told the meeting.
Magufuli came to power pledging to clamp down on corruption but has increasingly come under fire for human rights abuses.
The CCM said its election manifesto for the next five years will focus on job creation, good governance, justice, and revolutionizing agriculture, among others.
The party picked Hussein Mwinyi, the son of former Tanzanian president Ali Hassan Mwinyi, to run for president of the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar.
Tanzanians will elect the president, MPs, and ward councilors during the general election, whose exact date has yet to be set.
Opposition parties have called for the formation of an independent electoral commission but said they would not boycott the vote as they did during local elections last year.
“Our electoral commissions are not independent and we have been demanding reforms in vain. However, our party has resolved we will not boycott the elections this time,” said Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT Wazalendo) chairman Seif Sharif Hamad who is also running for the presidency of Zanzibar.
The Unites Stated last month accused Tanzania of seeking to “stifle democratic norms” ahead of general elections, after the arrests of opposition members and the closure of a newspaper.
“These actions follow a disconcerting pattern of intimidation toward opposition members, civil society, and media outlets,” it said.
Meanwhile, Tanzania has not released data for coronavirus cases since April, with the government insisting the outbreak is under control.
However, the US has raised the alarm about the lack of data and the “exponential growth” of the virus.
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