Tanzania President warns against violence ahead of polls

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Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete dismissed opposition accusations on Wednesday that his CCM party planned to rig a presidential vote next week and warned against violence ahead of the Oct. 25 elections.

Addressing a rally in the administrative capital Dodoma, Kikwete accused the opposition of stoking unrest before the parallel presidential, parliamentary and local government polls.

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“Anyone who participates in violence during the elections will be dealt with,” said Kikwete, who was speaking in Kiswahili. “Our security forces will ensure that the elections are peaceful … we will never allow our democracy to be hijacked.”

Tanzania’s main opposition parties have for the first time united behind one presidential candidate, former prime minister Edward Lowassa, whose rallies have drawn thousands of supporters across the East African country. Kikwete cannot run after serving two terms in office but the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party’s John Magufuli leads in opinion polls ahead of what is expected to the closest presidential race since Tanzania became independent in 1961.

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