DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) — Tanzania’s ruling party on Saturday nominated President John Magufuli to run for a second five-year term, while opposition parties and human rights groups demand an independent electoral body to oversee the October vote.
The unanimous decision by the Chama cha Mapinduzi party to back Magufuli came as no surprise.
The president, nicknamed “The Bulldozer” for his relentless work ethic and populist approach, has unsettled critics and some in the international community as his government clamps down on opposition gatherings, arrests opposition leaders and punishes dissent.
His administration’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic — not announcing case numbers since April, questioning face masks and declaring COVID-19 defeated — has caused further alarm.
Former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi and members of the ruling party have urged Magufuli to try to stay in power after 2025 despite Tanzania’s two-term limit. But he has said he won’t seek an extension after two terms.
Opposition parties have not declared their official candidate, and they have expressed skepticism with the electoral commission, demanding amendments to ensure the upcoming vote is free and fair.
Ruling party secretary-general Bashiru Ali told the gathering that the National Executive Committee nominated Magufuli because of his commitment to social and economic development and fighting corruption.
Magufuli said he was surprised by the support. “I never imagined I could get 100%,” he said. “This, however, should not mean winning the election by 100% as we have more work to do as a party.”