Tanzania Police Battle Protesters Over Delayed Poll Result



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Aug 30, 2007


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Tanzania Police Battle Protesters Over Delayed Poll Results


Tanzanian anti-riot police battled protesters in major cities across the country late Monday, after results for the Oct. 31 presidential and parliamentary poll results were delayed, officials said Tuesday.

Speaking by phone from the gold mining region of Mwanza, a police officer told Dow Jones Newswires that anti-riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of opposition protesters in the city of Mwanza.

"The police also dispersed similar protests in Dar Es Salaam and Arusha, the situation is still tense," he said.

Election observers said Tuesday that although the Oct. 31 polls were largely peaceful and orderly, tensions are mounting as people await the results of the hotly contested polls.

Incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party, or Party for Change, faces a strong challenge from Wilbroad Slaa of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo, or Chadema.

The opposition Chadema party warned late Monday that the delay could trigger post election violence as was the case in neighboring Kenya during the 2008 polls.

"People are angry, we don't know why the results are being delayed but this might result into violence," said Mwesiga Baregu, who heads the Chadema campaigns.

The Tanzania Electoral Commission had said it would start releasing election results on Monday. By Monday evening, only results from 14 constituencies had been released, giving Kikwete a lead in nine of them. Tanzania has at least 232 constituencies.

Kikwete, who won the 2005 elections with a landslide 80% of votes, saw his popularity plunge this month to 38%, according to Tanzanian polls.

Tanzania is East Africa's second-largest economy after Kenya and the continent's fourth-largest gold and coffee producer.

Slaa has promised to review the country's mining laws to ensure Tanzanians benefit more from the country's booming gold-mining sector.

-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; 256 75 262 4615; bariyonic@yahoo.co.uk

Tanzania Police Battle Protesters Over Delayed Poll Results

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