U.S. concerned about irregularities in Tanzania’s local elections

A voter casts her ballot in a past election in Tanzania. [Courtesy: AP]

A voter casts her ballot in a past election in Tanzania.
[Courtesy: AP]
The United States has expressed concern over alleged accounts of violence and intimidation in the run-up to the 12 August by-elections in Tanzania.

Tanzanian opposition leaders have complained that tolerance for dissent has diminished rapidly since President John Magufuli took office in 2015 with promises to reform the East African nation’s economy and crack down on corruption.

The U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam cited “credible” accounts of violence and irregularities ahead of the by-elections.

In a statement published on its website on Wednesday, the embassy said the National Election Commission had declined to register opposition candidates, and that they had been subjected to police intimidation.

The embassy also cited unwarranted arrests of candidates and acts to suppress freedom of assembly and speech.

“Such actions undermine the rights that Tanzania’s constitution guarantees its citizens and jeopardize peace, stability, and security in the country and throughout the region,” the statement read in part.

The vote in question involved a parliamentary by-election in the northwestern region of Kigoma and 36 local polls.

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