Tanzania’s new leader calls for unity amid opposition fraud claims

October 30, 2015 2:42 pm
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"I promise to deliver my election pledges, but we need to work together. Let us strive for peace and national unity," Magufuli said/XINHUA
“I promise to deliver my election pledges, but we need to work together. Let us strive for peace and national unity,” Magufuli said/XINHUA
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Oct 30 – Tanzania’s new leader John Magufuli called for unity Friday after winning hotly contested polls the opposition claimed to have won, and amid tensions after Zanzibar annulled polls.

“I promise to deliver my election pledges, but we need to work together. Let us strive for peace and national unity,” Magufuli said in his first speech since being declared winner of the country’s presidential poll.

Officials announced Thursday that Magufuli had won Sunday’s presidential elections with over 58 percent of votes, cementing the long-running Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party’s decades-long grip on power.

But the opposition claimed the vote was rigged and also claimed victory.

“Let me express my profound gratitude to all Tanzanians, those in CCM, the opposition and others who have no political affiliation,” Magufuli said after receiving an official certificate of his victory.

His running mate Samia Suluhu Hassan, from the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, becomes Tanzania’s first ever female vice president.

READ: Tanzania’s new president, ‘The Bulldozer’ Magufuli

While the CCM celebrated Magufuli’s win, it came at the cost of several veteran CCM ministers and politicians, ousted from their parliamentary seats.

National Electoral Commission (NEC) chief presented Magufuli and Hassan with certificates of appointment, ahead of an official swearing in ceremony on November 5.

Outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete said Magufuli was the “right person” for the job – and said he was “so happy” to be leaving his job after a decade in power, stepping aside after serving his two-term limit.

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