Tanzania’s ruling party candidate took an early lead in the East African nation’s presidential elections after police raided a counting centre set up by the opposition to monitor the vote tally.
John Magufuli, who is seeking to replace Jakaya Kikwete as leader of Africa’s third-biggest gold producer, is ahead in three of the country’s 265 constituencies, Damian Lubuva, the head of the Tanzania National Electoral Commission, told reporters Monday in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
Magufuli is running against Edward Lowassa, a former prime minister who defected to the opposition in July after failing to secure the candidacy for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.
The party has also won 176 of the 264 parliamentary seats tallied so far, a trend that signals victory for Magufuli, lawmaker January Makamba told reporters on Monday.
The national assembly has 357 seats, according to preliminary results.
The party also boasted it has reclaimed 11 constituencies that were taken by the opposition in the previous General Election.
“Taking into consideration the results announced by the National Electoral Commission officials, we have registered wins in 176 constituencies out 264 countrywide,” said CCM campaign committee spokesperson January Makamba.
Although he fell short of naming the constituencies, Mr Makamba who doubles as a member of the presidential campaign team, asked his party supporters and members to receive presidential election results from the right source—NEC.
He was speaking at a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
“We request CCM members to remain calm, to be free from fear and adhere to the laid down rules and regulations until NEC finishes its work,” he said.
He added: “The presidential results currently announced by NEC are not quite different from the figures we are witnessing on parliamentary seats. This is a clear indication that we will win the elections.”
According to Mr Makamba, announcing the election results was as important as it was during campaigns.
“We are disappointed that some members of the opposition have been announcing results that are not realistic,” he said. He did not clarify.
He called on CCM members and supporters to ignore the results saying it was NEC that has the constitutional right to do so.
He accused the opposition of misleading their supporters.
The Citizen Tanzania