Tanzanian Ruling Party Expects Two-Thirds of Seats in Parliament

  • Opposition warns of unrest after it rejects official tally
  • Electoral body results show ruling party candidate ahead

Tanzania’s ruling party expects to win at least two thirds of the seats in parliament after Sunday’s general election, deputy Communications Minister January Makamba said, as the opposition warned of unrest over the outcome.

“From our in-house tallying, we won’t get less than two-thirds of parliament,” Makamba, the director of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s campaign, said in an interview in the commercial hub, Dar es Salaam. Tanzania held parliamentary and presidential elections on Oct. 25, with preliminary results from the National Electoral Commission showing the CCM’s candidate, John Magufuli, leading his closest rival, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, in 121 of the 151 constituencies counted.

Tanzania's ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) campaign spokesperson January Makamba holds a press conference in Dar es Salaam on October 26.
Tanzania's ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) campaign spokesperson January Makamba holds a press conference in Dar es Salaam on October 26.
Photographer: Daniel Hayduk/AFP/Getty Images

Magufuli is seeking to succeed Jakaya Kikwete as the fifth president of Africa’s third-biggest gold-producing nation since it gained independence from Britain in 1961. The government is trying to diversify its mostly agrarian economy by going into gas production, with an estimated 55 trillion cubic feet of reserves that are the biggest in East Africa after Mozambique. Statoil ASA, based in Stavanger, Norway, and the U.K.’s BG Group Plc may build the nation’s first liquefied natural gas plant at an estimated cost of $15 billion.

The opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party said on Tuesday it plans to reject the outcome announced by the electoral authorities because of irregularities and warned unrest may follow the final announcement.

“We can’t say how many parliamentary seats we have got because the police destroyed our tally center, and the national electoral commission is delaying to announce winners in opposition strongholds,” Freeman Mbowe, chairman of Chadema, said from Dar es Salaam. “The peace and tranquility that’s been enjoyed in this country for very many years may just flip over night. We wont sit down and cry. This can no longer go on unabated.”

Analysts including Ahmed Salim from Teneo Intelligence said they expected the opposition to obtain more parliamentary seats after Lowassa defected from the ruling party in July.

“Although the results are still trickling in, Chadema has already performed better than it did in 2010, where it won 23 seats,” Salim said on Wednesday.