Winter Winner

Winter Winner

magufuliwinsTanzania’s ruling party’s candidate has won the presidential election, the opposition has rejected the results, and the election in Zanzibar has been annulled.

The Election Commission declared John Magufuli the next president with 67% of the popular vote just as the business day in Tanzania ended.

The country is tenser than ever. The slow live announcement of constituency results was viewed suspiciously by the European Union whose election observers issued a preliminary negative report on the validity of the election.

America expressed “alarm” with the Zanzibar annulment.

Normally a mouthpiece for all East African leaders in power, the EAC (East African Community) commission watching the election said it was “concerned” with the large number of disputes so far filed.

Earlier, the main opposition party UKAWA announced it was rejecting whatever outcome would be announced. German radio opined, “Transparency is crucial. Tanzania, which has been a force for stability and peace for decades, cannot be allowed to descend into chaos.”

Were this Kenya or South Africa, the situation would represent serious potential violence. I don’t think it does in Tanzania.

The opposition was hastily put together, an unlikely amalgam of disparate parties. It is itself fractured, and I just don’t think its leaders are capable of organizing any real protest.

A rerunning of the election in Zanzibar cannot change the presidential outcome. Even if every Zanzibari vote was for the opposition it would move the percentages less than 2%. (Zanzibar’s population is 1.3 million of the country’s 53.6 million.)

Nevertheless, the decision to annul the Zanzibari election squarely places it in the center of any violent reaction that may now develop in the country. The fact that nearly an entire day has now passed since the election was officially annulled there, and that violent reaction and police response has been less than expected…

… suggests to me that the party in power will prevail, that some violence will occur for a rather strung out period, but that within a month Tanzanians will have settled into a terrible disquiet of acceptance.

I have many Tanzanian friends on Facebook. Before the election Facebook and other social media were exploding with election bombast. Today it’s eerily quiet.

Night is descending on a freakishly bleak Tanzania. More tomorrow.