Post Election

The elections are over and we have retained the incumbent; President Kikwete. His party, CCM, has been the ruling party since Tanzania became a nation in 1964. His re-election was announced on Wednesday and things were peaceful.
However, many of the Districts elected officials from the opposing party, Chadema, for the first time in this country’s history. Also for the first time in it’s history, except on the islands and along the east coast, there was rioting in Tanzania.
Tanzania has always been a peaceful country and its citizens are very non-confrontational. On Monday, the results of all of the local elections were to be announced in the early morning but by 4:00 the crowds were still waiting to hear the results.
The crowds feared that the incumbent CCM officials were attempting to change the votes back in their favor. Riots broke out across Mwanza, we heard tear gas cannons go off all over the city and all around us there were mobs of people carrying rocks and sticks and yelling. Riot police were called in with rifles and dogs to control the crowds. For about two hours around our house, in the road in front of our house and in our neighbors yards there was fighting and guns were being fired by guards and riot police. A crowd set the CCM building on fire.
Our house had a haze of smoke in it which drifted up our hill from the many tear gas bombs (15-20) that were fired into the crowds around Mwanza.
Finally, about 7:00, the incumbent CCM official came out and conceded his loss and the win of the ChaDema candidate. Almost immediately, people settled down and dispersed to their homes.
It was the first time such a thing has ever happened in Tanzania and we pray it will never happen again. It was a brief glimpse for a couple of hours into the fear filled lives of people around the world who live with constant war, rioting and violence and where “ducking for cover” is as normal an activity as walking down the street.

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