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Tanzania president faces 14 opposition candidates in October polls

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Tanzanian President John Magufuli will face 14 other contestants in elections scheduled for the 28th of October, the elections board announced, with analysts saying a divided opposition is likely to ensure he wins a second term.

His main challengers are likely to be Tundu Lissu, who returned to Tanzania last month after spending nearly three years away for treatment after he was shot during an assassination attempt, and ex-foreign minister Bernard Membe, who was expelled from the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in February.

Unlike the previous elections where a coalition of opposition parties was formed to increase the opposition’s chances of winning, this time they are contesting against one another thereby leaving president Magufuli with greater chances of winning the contest.

Richard Mbunda, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, said the lack of trust between parties and their need to use elections as public relations events is the reason there is no alliance.

Magufuli’s party has governed Tanzania since independence in 1961. He came to power in 2015 promising to end corruption and expand infrastructure. But his tough governing style has cemented his nickname – the Bulldozer given to him during his time as public works minister.

Rights groups and the opposition have accused Magufuli of increasing repression ahead of the polls and intimidation of political rivals and the press, accusations the government denied.

Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News

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