Tanzania’s opposition presidential candidate Edward Lowassa says the tightly contested general election has been marred by fraud, and the election commission should stop releasing results.
He said at a press conference in the main city Dar es Salaam that counting was rigged, and the results released by the electoral commission were null and void.
Mr Lowassa said counting by agents of his Ukawa coalition showed he was leading with about 60% of the vote.
The presidential candidate of Tanzania’s governing party held a lead over his rival after around half the votes were counted in the country’s tightest ever election, the AFP news agency reports.
With results from 133 of 264 constituencies released by the National Election Commission, John Magufuli of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party had 56.51% of the vote, compared with 41.67% for Edward Lowassa of the Ukawa coalition, it reports.
The coalition of four opposition parties is hoping to end CCM’s 54-year rule.
A high turnout was reported in Sunday’s election.
President Jakaya Kikwete is stepping down after two terms.
‘Don’t riot’ plea in Tanzania
Lowassa has called on his supporters not to take to the streets and riot as a massive election crisis unfolds in the country.
Speaking at the headquarters of the Ukawa coalition, Mr Lowassa said the decision to scrap Zanzibar’s election would affect votes on the mainland, and the electoral process therefore could not continue.
He urged people to remain peaceful, while the national electoral commission dealt with the crisis.
‘Cheating’ in Zanzibar
The chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, Jecha Salum Jecha, says new elections will have to take place on the archipelago, which is part of Tanzania, AFP news agency reports.
Sunday’s poll had been annulled because of double-voting and cheating, he is quoted as saying.
‘Annul’ Tanzania election
Tanzania’s opposition has called for the entire election to be annulled.
Ukawa says that since election has been nullified in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, it should be nullified on the mainland as well.