Democracy wins in Tanzania and Ivory Coast
Presidential elections held in both Ivory Coast and Tanzania on Sunday, the 25th of October. Ivory Coast experienced a low turn-out, while Tanzania had quite a good number of people come out to vote. This high turn-out in Tanzania is indicative of the new-found belief among Tanzanians that the electoral power was in their hands. Both countries also witnessed peaceful elections, a testament to the giant strides made in democracy over the years in these two nations.
Ivory Coast Elections
The low turn out in Ivory Coast’s election, a country still under the shadow of post-election violence of 2010, is in part due to the boycott of the elections by the supporters of former President Gbagbo. These supporters believe that the sitting President, Allasane Quattara, is not the rightful president, and so were unconvinced by the entire electoral process. The other reason for the low turnout is attributed to boycott by opposition party members. They believe the government had control of the electoral commission, and expected irregularities in the election results.
Despite the low turnout, security officers were seen everywhere in the country, this accomplished the desired effect of a peaceful voting exercise at Abidjan, and in three other states across the country. Allasane Quattara is expected to win a second term in office which will highlight the resurgence in Ivory Coast’s economy since he became President in 2010. After casting his vote yesterday, he commented that a peaceful vote would erase the memories of the last elections held in 2010. Electoral results should be announced in 5 days.
Tanzanians seem to be awakened to their responsibility as democratic citizens. In some polling units across the country, voting continued until late in the night to enable people who had been on queue to vote. The ruling party in Tanzania, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), since its independence, has faced weak opposition parties and hence discouraged voter turnout in previous elections. But now that the opposition parties have come together under one umbrella called the Ukawa Coalition, yesterday’s election witnessed a large number of people coming out to vote. The British High Commissioner to Tanzania commented on the elections, saying she was impressed with the high turnout.
Despite the likelihood of CCM’s presidential candidate, John Magufuli, winning the elections, Edward Lowassa of the Ukawa Coalition is expected to give him a run for his money, with many Tanzanians disenfranchised with some previous CCM administrations. The vote counting is expected to continue for several days while preliminary results come out today.