Tanzania’s electoral commission has tasked the United States to prove allegations it made on Wednesday, saying by-elections held on August 12 were marred by violence and intimidation.
In a statement published on its website on Wednesday, the US embassy in Dar es Salaam said the National Election Commission had refused to register opposition candidates and that they had been subject to police intimidation.
The embassy also cited unwarranted arrests of candidates and acts to suppress freedom of assembly and speech.
The commission is demanding that the US embassy should prove all the allegations it made. They have to tell us how they got all the details on the polls when they were not allowed by the law?
“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 embassy said.
The vote in question involved a parliamentary by-election in the northwestern region of Kigoma and 36 local races, according to The Citizen, an English-language Tanzanian daily.
Tanzania electoral commission responds
In its response, the commission said the election was free and fair, adding that it has not received complaints from opposition candidates.
They also questioned the source of the information used by the US embassy to make an assessment.
‘‘The commission is demanding that the US embassy should prove all the allegations it made. They have to tell us how they got all the details on the polls when they were not allowed by the law?, read their statement signed by the chief information officer Christina Njovu.
There were no international observers involved in the by-election.
The U.S. Embassy had cited “credible” accounts of violence and irregularities ahead of the by-elections.
Magufuli’s government has introduced anti-corruption measures and tightened regulations on foreign companies, particularly in the mining sector.
Tanzanian opposition leaders have complained that tolerance for dissent has diminished rapidly since President John Magufuli took office in 2015 on pledges to reform the East African nation’s economy and crack down on corruption.