Tanzanians began voting on Wednesday morning to elect their president and members of parliament. The outgoing head of state John Magufuli, nicknamed the “bulldozer”, faces main opponent Tundu Lissu, who has been able to reinvigorate the opposition, largely stifled during the last five-years.
On the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, the situation had become clearly tense on Tuesday, with an opposition candidate – briefly arrested – and an accusation from his party that security forces had killed 10 people.
On Wednesday morning, in the Garagara neighborhood on the outskirts of Stone Town in Zanzibar, where police fired tear gas and live ammunition on Tuesday, 48-year-old Mnao says she came to the polling station early so as to get home quickly.
More than 29 million voters are called to the polls from 07H00 to 16H00 (04H00 to 13H00 GMT) in mainland Tanzania and 556,000 on the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, which together constitute the United Republic of Tanzania (about 58 million inhabitants).
In Zanzibar, voters not only vote in national elections (presidential, legislative), but also to appoint the president and parliamentarians of the archipelago.