DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania’s electoral authorities rejected on Wednesday a demand by the east African country’s main opposition leader to recount the presidential vote because of suspected fraud.
“There could be irregularities in terms of arithmetic in the vote tallying, but not enough to change the final results,” the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Chairman Lewis Makame told journalists.
Makame announced presidential election results from more constituencies, which showed President Jakaya Kikwete of the ruling party’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) was on course for re-election to a second and final term.
Willibrod Slaa, the presidential candidate for the Chadema party, had asked the electoral authorities to stop announcing the results, saying the count was riddled with irregularities.
Slaa said the electoral commission figures did not tally with those from the constituencies and demanded the presidential vote should be recounted.
“We want the National Electoral Commission to suspend the announcement of presidential results with immediate effect,” Slaa told a news conference.
He accused the Tanzanian intelligence and security services of rigging the vote in favour of CCM and called for the resignation of the head of intelligence services, but urged calm from his supporters, who he urged not to take to the streets.
Foreign observers, including the European Union, on Tuesday expressed concern about the delays in the announcement of the election results, and said they had reservations about the transparency of the aggregation process.
For the third day, police fired tear gas at opposition supporters in Kagera region over the delay in some results and the credibility of others.
Tanzania has enjoyed relative stability in an often unsettled region and has managed to hold three successive multi-party presidential elections since 1995, after more than three decades of one-party rule.
The election is seen as a test for the ruling party’s dominance in Tanzania, which has been struggling with poverty and underdevelopment. Government critics say poverty remains widespread among the majority of the population of 40 million.
Earlier, Ali Mohamed Shein, who won the presidential vote in
of Zanzibar, was sworn in as president of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago following a peaceful vote on Sunday.
Slaa, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, said Tanzania’s constitution states that once the winner of a presidential election is announced by the electoral commission, the results cannot be challenged in court or anywhere else.
“That is why we have taken this move to call for a suspension of the announcement of results until a formal investigation is conducted into these serious allegations of fraud.”
Final presidential results were expected on Friday.
The NEC has been releasing sporadic results of the presidential poll from constituencies and has not been giving a cumulative total.
NEC, which has been criticised by opposition leaders and international observers for lacking transparency in its vote tallying system, currently has on its website results from just 10 constituencies out of 239.
However, the leading Swahili daily newspaper, Mwananchi, has been tallying election results from figures announced by NEC and at constituencies and gave Kikwete 64 percent of the votes with Slaa a distant second with 19 percent.