Ruling party won landslide victory in local elections which opposition boycotted citing govt manipulation of process, and suspected Islamist militants killed six people near Mozambican border. Ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi won 99% of seats in 24 Nov local elections, which leading opposition party Chadema boycotted 7 Nov citing govt intimidation and manipulation of electoral process. UK and U.S. 27 Nov questioned credibility of election results. Unidentified gunmen 12 Nov killed six farmers in ambush near Mozambican border in south; police believe assailants entered Tanzania from Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique where Islamist militants have carried out similar attacks. Authorities 20 Nov postponed trial of investigative journalist Erick Kabendera for eighth time.
Next year’s elections in Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago, will be hard fought. With the ruling party changing the rules in its favour, they could turn violent. The islands’ politicians should urgently meet to discuss levelling the playing field and lowering the risk of clashes.
Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power in Somalia, but it continues to plot attacks in Kenya and Tanzania – and perhaps in Uganda as well. To counter the movement, East African states should eschew heavy-handed crackdowns and work instead to reduce its appeal to potential recruits.
Originally published in The East African