Tanzania : President Magufuli To Seek A Second-Five-Year Term
Though the precise election date is not yet public, the incumbent has dissolved the parliament to pave the way for campaigns to begin.
Tanzania's parliament has been dissolved ahead of elections due in October 2020, with President John Magufuli pledging a "free and fair" vote in a country where the opposition has decried a climate of fear and violence.
John Magufuli, who took office in 2015 promising a crackdown on corruption but whose time in office has drawn criticism by rights groups, urged all political parties to "avoid insults and violence" while campaigning.
The constitution requires that the 393-seat legislature be dissolved ahead of the elections. The vote is scheduled for October but the precise date has not yet been set.
"I want to assure everyone that the elections will be free and fair, for all political parties," Magufuli, who is expected to seek a second five-year term, said in an address to legislators.
The dissolution comes just days after Tanzanian opposition leader Freeman Mbowe, who has announced his intention to run against Magufuli, was alledgedly beaten and hospitalized in what his Chadema party said was a "politically-motivated" attack. The European Union mission in the country denounced the alleged assault as an "attack against democracy" while the US and British embassies also expressed concern.
Chadema says attacks against the party and its supporters have risen sharply under Magufuli, whose administration has been accused by rights groups of eroding democratic freedoms.
The government has denied seeking to stifle dissent. Chadema and other opposition parties including Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT Wazalendo) have called for an independent monitor to oversee the elections, warning they will not be free otherwise.
"The current setup of the electoral commission does not guarantee free polls, as it favours the ruling party. The chairman and some other officials are appointed by the President, who is the ruling party leader," said ACT Wazalendo chairman Seif Sharif Hamad.