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Tanzania's opposition slams elections body over Magufuli's presidential victory

Tanzania's elections body has declared John Magufuli winner of its presidential race, though the opposition rejects the results. The annuoncement follows semi-autonomous Zanzibar's decision to annul its polls.

Tanzania's National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Thursday declared

ruling party candidate John Magufuli

the winner of

Sunday's presidential election.

"I duly declare John Pombe Magufuli to have been duly elected President of the United Republic of Tanzania," said NEC chairman Damian Lubuva in a statement.

Magufuli, a minister for public works and former chemistry teacher, garnered over 58 percent of votes, while opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa gained around 40 percent.

'Rob the citizens'

The opposition has rejected the official results, claiming that the

electoral commission falsified the tallies.

"We refuse to accept this attempt to rob the citizens of Tanzania of their democratic rights, which is being done by the National Electoral Commission by announcing results which are not the actual results," said Lowassa, according to AFP news agency.

"We are requesting that the National Electoral Commission announces that Edward Lowassa is the winner of the presidency," the opposition candidate said.

Lowassa served as Tanzania's prime minister from 2005 to 2008, when he stepped down amid corruption allegations.

Analysts described Sunday's elections as one of the most contested since Tanzania gained independence from Britain

Analysts described Sunday's elections as one of the most contested since Tanzania gained independence from Britain

Zanzibar poll annulled

The announcement of Tanzania's election results follows the semi-autonomous region

Zanzibar's decision to annul polls

over irregularities.

International observers, including the African Union and the EU, said they were deeply concerned about the annulment.

The Tanzanian archipelago off the East African coast cited "violations of electoral law" in its decision to annul the votes of its 500,000-strong electorate.

ls/jtm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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