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Kikwete heads into second term as president in Tanzania

From Mwondoshah Mfanga, For CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Voter turnout is low at only 42 percent
  • An opposition leader warns that voter apathy could affect Tanzania's democracy

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (CNN) -- Jakaya Kikwete is heading into his second term as president of Tanzania, after elections left one opposition politician warning that voter apathy could threaten Tanzania's young multiparty democracy

Meanwhile, the losing presidential candidate of another opposition party contended the country's intelligence forces were involved in rigging the election. The acting head of the Tanzania intelligence unit responded by accusing that candidate of lying and by saying all claims of vote rigging were baseless.

Although the election took place on October 31, official results were announced on Friday. Incumbent President Kikwete garnered 5.3 million votes out of 8.6 million cast to earn a second five-year term.

Of Tanzania's 20 million registered voters, only 8.6 million voters (42.8 percent) turned out to cast ballots, according to elections officials.

That left Ibrahim Lipumba, leader of the Civic United Front (CUF) party, to blame voter apathy and Tanzania's National Electoral Commission, saying unless it comes out with a way to bolster the electoral system, the country's nascent democracy will be undermined.

Lipumba's remarks came in a concession speech he made on behalf of losing political parties

This vote was the fourth general election since multiparty democracy was restored in Tanzania in 1992, and observers and monitors have commended the exercise as a free one, but still not fair.

A European Union observer team censured the electoral commission on Wednesday, saying its delays in issuing election results were the cause of chaos in some constituencies.

On Thursday, Martina Kabisama of Tanzania Civil Society Consortium for Election Observation (TACCEO), comprising 17 organizations, said the elections were free, but not fair. He cited a low level of awareness on the part of election supervisors, problems in the permanent voter register, and use of outdated computers as among factors affecting the election.

The first runner-up in the presidential vote -- Wilbrioad Slaa of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) organization -- had 2.3 million votes while Lipumba collected 695,667 votes.

Slaa did not appear when vote results were being announced Friday, having stated that the country's intelligence was involved in rigging the election. That was followed by a denial from the country's top intelligence official.

There were seven candidates in this year's general election.

For his part, Kikwete accepted his win, saying he would cooperate with all the parties to build the nation.

"We are all winners, and there is no point for any of us to fight over poles while we are building the same house," he said.