US and UK protest after Tanzania ruling party’s 99.9% win

US and UK diplomats in Tanzania say they are deeply concerned about the handling of the local elections in the country.

Sunday’s polls were boycotted by eight major opposition parties alleging manipulation by the government. The governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party won 99.9% of the seats contested.

They include more than 16,000 key positions in the running of villages, towns and cities across the country.

A statement from the US and UK embassies said election officials “overwhelmingly” disqualified opposition candidates rather than CCM candidates. They also decried the government’s refusal to give accreditation to election observers.

The diplomats said these irregularities cast questions over the credibility of the poll.

The main opposition groups decided to pull out of the elections after alleging that their candidates were systematically excluded.

More than half of opposition candidates were told they could not stand because of spelling mistakes, blank spaces on forms and other bureaucratic errors.

Local observers worry that this new development sets a bad precedent ahead of general elections next year.