Tundu Lissu said the demand for democracy ‘is not a mistake’, and pleaded with regional and international bodies like the African Union who had representatives in the polls, The East African Union and the South African Development Community (SADC) to intervene.
Tanzanian opposition parties have disputed incumbent President John Magafuli’s early lead, citing electoral fraud, rigging and violence, and have called for nationwide protests to nullify the ‘sham’ polls.
Main contender to the presidency, Tinda Lissu, leader of the opposition CHADEMA party, Tundu Lissu, said Tanzanians should ‘take a stand’.
“The Tanzanians were robbed of their right to choose their leaders and they are entitled to defend their democratic right. They ought to use collective force to demand for democracy. Its time for Tanzanians to take a stand,” Lissu told journalists Thursday.
There have been allegations of rigging through bullot stuffing, arrest of agents and denying some people to vote, allegations which the National Elections Commission (NEC) has refuted.
Some opposition leaders and citizens were arrested at polling stations before being released, while nine people were shot dead by security forces as they protested alleged ballot stuffing, according to another opposition party, ACT-Wazalendo.
ACT-Wazalendo leader and presidential aspirant in Zanzibar, Maalim Seif has backed Lissu’s calls for protests, urging people to demand their rights.
“Everyone should do what they possibly can to demand our rights. As leaders, we may be killed or arrested, but we are ready,” he told journalists at his party offices.
“They have decided on their own, they announce results that have been prepared by them which do not equate to the results in the centers. There were no elections in Zanzibar but rather a military act. The citizens were denied the right to put into power the leaders of their choice” Seif said.
Magafuli, who assumed power in 2015 general election, was first admired for cutting on government spending, but latter attracted criticism from rights groups for his heavy handedness in dealing with dissent.
Lissu, on the other hand, said the demand for democracy ‘is not a mistake’, and pleaded with regional and international bodies like the African Union who had representatives in the polls, The East African Union and the South African Development Community (SADC) to intervene.
“They should openly state that what was done does not reach the standards of a free and fair election. Countries that have friendly relationships with Tanzania ought not to agree with what happened in the country because what was done was unlawful” he said.
“The international community should assist us in punishing those who took part in ruining the elections, from the National Electoral Committee of Tanzania (NEC) , the Zanzibar Electoral Committee (ZEC) to be confined from international travels and to conduct any international transactions” he said.
Lissu said he will report the killings and human rights violations to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
US Ambassador Donald Wright, urged the NEC to be impartial.
“.. the NEC (National Electoral Commission) & ZEC (Zanzibar Electoral Commission) must carry out their duties with integrity”, he tweeted on voting day, Wednesday.