Ukawa demands manual tallying of presidential votes

Thursday October 29 2015

Chadema presidential candidate Edward Lowassa

Chadema presidential candidate Edward Lowassa speaks at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Seated with him from second left are Chadema presidential running mate Juma Duni Haji, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe and Mr Frederick Sumaye of the opposition alliance Ukawa, of which Chadema is a constituent party. PHOTO | VENANCE NESTORY 

By Henry Mwangonde The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. The Chadema presidential candidate, Mr Edward Lowassa, yesterday called for the immediate suspension of the ongoing announcement of General Election results, describing them as lacking in credibility.

He demanded that a fresh vote counting, which should be manual, should be conducted. Election form in hard copy, which is signed by agents of political parties at polling centres should be used, Mr Lowassa insisted.

The Chadema flag-bearer rejected results that have so far been announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), citing rampant irregularities. He told a press conference in Dar es Salaam that doctoring of the results was being coordinated by the electoral body and the ruling CCM.

According to results announced by NEC, Mr Lowassa has so far garnered 4,226,293 votes against 6,190,206 votes of his main rival John Magufuli.

The results so far announced are from 195 constituencies out of the total number 260.

But Mr Lowassa said yesterday the results that Ukawa had gathered from their agents before the police invaded their election tallying centres showed that he was leading by 67 per cent.


He said he has evidence that there were deliberate plans to cook the results in favour of the CCM candidate, saying the results they received from their agents in various parts of the country showed figures that were different from what the NEC has announced.

“Presidential results being announced by NEC don’t reflect the will of the people but lies that have been deliberately prepared to favour CCM candidate Dr John Magufuli,” he said. He gave an example of Tunduma, Same East, Chambani, Tandahimba and Kilindi constituencies as some of the places where the number of Ukawa votes were stolen and given to CCM candidate.

However, CCM has denied the allegation, saying it was surprised by the claims because Chadema has accepted results in areas where their parliamentarian candidates won but rejected the same as regards to presidential results.

“The Commission that organised presidential election is the same that prepared the parliamentary election and the returning officers are the same, laws and regulations are the same,” said CCM in a statement, adding that the Opposition started complaining after realising their presidential candidate was losing.

But Mr Lowassa further alleged that there was delay in announcing election results in constituencies where the Opposition won.

Ukawa co-chair James Mbatia said they were aware that the President held a special meeting on Sunday night with the NEC director saying they have information on the agenda and what they discussed.

He said the two later met at the residence of former President Benjamin Mkapa, saying the meetings were aimed at setting up tricks to rig the election.

But when contacted, the Director State House Communications, Mr Salva Rweyemamu, said the statements by Mr Mbatia were baseless and unexpected from a national leader of his calibre.

“Mr Mbatia should show a sense of gratitude to the President who has done a lot for him—let him do his homework instead of talking about things that are of no help to him,” he said. The NEC chairman also called for the Opposition to have specific agendas instead of raising a large number of issues at a time saying he does not see any solid agendas to their complaints.

Chadema yesterday held an emergency central committee that was to give the party’s position on the whole process.

His running mate, Mr Juma Duni Haji, said it was surprising that NEC has not made any statement to condemn the interception of ballot papers and boxes before the Election Day. “We cannot accept the rigging against us in broad daylight. CCM has been working day and night to ensure they play around with the figures,” he said.

He claimed that in Zanzibar the results have been cooked, saying the ruling party should understand that going against the will of the people could spark violence in the country.

The MP-elect for Ubungo, Mr Saed Kubenea, claimed that Mr Lowassa has been robbed of his votes in Ubungo constituencies, adding that what NEC has announced is contrary to what is on the ground.

“For example, in the 20 ballot papers that were counted at Ubungo, Lowassa had 47,470 and Magufuli had 32,953 but NEC has announced that Lowassa has 83,300 and Magufuli has 74,000—this is total manipulation of the results,” he said.

Ukawa co-chair Mbatia said it was very difficult for NEC to continue with the vote counting process when the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) has suspended the process.

“This is the United Republic of Tanzania; now how come the election is cancelled in one side of the Union and then NEC continues with the process when the country has one Head of State,” he queried. Former Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye said NEC quietness on the interception of ballot papers was a sign that there was a deliberate plot to rig the election and that what is happening is just an implementation of the plan.