Tanzania opposition to boycott local elections

Tanzania’s main opposition party has said it will boycott upcoming local elections, citing the “unfair” disqualification of its candidates.

More than half of the opposition candidates were told they could not stand in the elections later this month, with reasons given including spelling mistakes and blank spaces on forms.

Some 99% of ruling party candidates were approved.

The opposition Chadema party has accused the government and election officials of collusion.

Chadema Chairman Freeman Mbowe said his party would not participate in what he called “a sham exercise”.

Four other opposition parties said they supported the action.

The government said it was disappointed by Chameda’s decision to boycott the vote, adding that there were clear procedures that aggrieved candidates could follow rather than the party withdrawing.

The dispute over the election follows recent criticism of President John Magufuli’s government by international rights groups.

Reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said democratic freedoms in the country were being undermined.

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