Tanzania Elections: Police Detain Opposition Candidate As Magufuli Votes

Tanzania Elections: Police Detain Opposition Candidate As Magufuli Votes

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Dodoma: Tanzanian opposition party Chadema on Wednesday said its parliamentary candidate for Kawe in Dar es Salaam, Ms Halima Mdee, was placed in police custody just hours after polling started.

READ ALSO: Tanzania Decides: Election Preparations In Final Steps As Opposition Cries Foul Over Early Vote Rigging

Ms Mdee, also the chairperson for the party’s women’s wing, known by its acronym Bawacha, has been the MP for Kawe for two five-year consecutive terms.

She was later released from Kawe Police Station. This was confirmed by Kinondoni Regional Police Commander Edward Bukombe, who said Ms Mdee was arrested by the police for questioning.

Speaking to journalists, the official said there had been an altercation and police decided to take her in for questioning, adding that she had been released and was continuing with her duties.

READ ALSO: Tanzania EC Bans Opposition Candidate Lissu Campaigns As Magufuli Holds Massive Rallies

The development came at a time when President John Magufuli, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi presidential candidate was casting his vote.

Dr Magufuli, who is seeking re-election, voted at Chamwino in Dodoma near State House where he is registered.

He arrived at Chamwino Ikulu village with his wife, Janet Magufuli, and queued behind other voters who had lined up in the polling station.

READ ALSO: Excitement: Museveni Flies To Tanzania, Inks Fresh Oil Deals With Magufuli After Total Agreement

After voting, Dr Magufuli briefly spoke to journalists, saying he was satisfied with the ongoing process.

“Congratulations to the returning officers for the preparations. I congratulate Tanzanians for this important day. My call is for them to hugely turnout and vote for the candidates of their choice,” he said.

“We also need to maintain our peace and I always say there is life after elections,” he added.

Who is John Magufuli?

President Magufuli, from the party Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM), has styled himself as a stout African nationalist and a devout Catholic waging war against foreign powers seeking to exploit Tanzania.

He has been praised for pushing through big infrastructure projects while critics have said he has chipped away at freedom of expression.

He did not impose a lockdown to restrict the spread of coronavirus and later said that God had spared Tanzania the virus.

However, the government has also stopped publishing figures for the number of people infected with the virus.

Who Is Tundu Lissu?

Mr Lissu of the biggest opposition party, Chadema, who survived an assassination attempt three years ago, is expected to be the strongest opposition challenger.

He returned from Belgium in July where he had undergone rounds of treatment for gunshot wounds.

Mr Lissu’s campaign was suspended for seven days after being accused of sedition by the electoral commission. He had reportedly said that Mr Magufuli was planning to rig the elections, but the commission said there were no such attempts.

Under Tanzania’s electoral rules, the winning candidate requires a simple majority to become president.

Some 29.1 million people are registered to vote – six million more than than the previous polls in 2015.

They include residents of the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar who vote for the islands’ leaders – including the election of a Zanzibari president – as well as in Tanzania’s national election.

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