Event

The presidential election was held with the parliamentary election on 25 October. It was a close contest between Works Minister John Magufuli of the long-time ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and former CCM Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who changed sides to the opposition party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) after failing to win the CCM's presidential nomination. The National Election Commission declared CCM winner and Magufuli defeated Lowassa with 58% of the vote. However, a shadow is cast on the results. In the semi-autonomous Zanzibar, where the incumbent CCM faced the primarily Zanzibar party Civic United Front (CUF) which is campaigning for greater autonomy, the electoral commission annulled the region’s election. International observers, including some from the EU, expressed ‘grave concern’ at the actions of the Zanzibar electoral commission.

Impact on country risk

Magufuli is relatively unknown in Tanzanian politics. He has not been tainted by the recent corruption and mismanagement scandals, while the power sector corruption scandal has led foreign donors to suspend budgetary support in October 2014. Though donor aid was resumed in March 2015, future engagement of foreign donors is now less clear, while foreign aid is of paramount importance as it contributes a large percentage to the government´s budget. Next to corruption, there are other challenges ahead for Magufuli. The most important are containing the fiscal deficit (-4% of GDP in 2015), solving infrastructure constraints (most notably in power generation) and slowing the fast-expanding government debt which has increased from 35.2% in 2014 to 40.2% in 2015. The annulled election in Zanzibar heightens the risk of violence but the prospect of widespread ethnic violence is low since Tanzania´s population is less divided among tribal lines than in neighbouring countries such as Burundi. The annulation can also trigger international censure as it is suspected to reflect CCM's determination to retain the presidency.

Analyst: Jolyn Debuysscher, j.debuysscher@credendogroup.com