The heads of African Union (AU) Election observation Mission to the Republic of Tanzania have appealed to all political stakeholders to refrain from any acts that undermine a peaceful election.
A high-powered mission led by former presidents; Sylvester Ntibantunganya of Burundi, Good-luck Jonathan of Nigeria and AU mission advocate Pancy Tlakula, have expressed optimism for a peaceful election but called for calm ahead of elections on Wednesday.
“As the country goes to polls tomorrow, we would like to call upon citizens and all political stakeholders to refrain from all acts that could undermine peaceful conduct of these elections” the observers said in a statement.
The observers however commended the people of Tanzania for a largely peaceful conduct of election campaigns.
The election campaigns which have been marred with acts of intimidation and opposition harassment from state agencies. Tundu Lissu, the main challenger to the incumbent John Pombe Magufuli has suffered the worst of this.
Shot several times by gunmen in 2017 and undergoing through more than 20 operations in Kenya and Belgium, quickly established himself as an outspoken voice and a fierce critic of Magufuli’s government.
Flying back into the country in July, after treatment abroad, he was greeted at the airport by his backers as a returning hero. His party offices was attacked by fuel bombs before nomination and he has overcome several hurdles through campaigns.
Some media has also faced suspension and there has been concerns over the wider enjoyment of civil liberties in the country, especially in the leadup to the October 28, 2020 general election.
“We therefore wish to encourage all the people of Tanzania, all political parties, candidates and supporters to continue upholding the long-enduring peace and stability of the country at the forefront” the observers said.