In country’s tightest election race yet, Tanzania opposition alleges dirty tricks by government

Coalition party says Its campaign events are being blocked as October 25 ballot nears.

 A Tanzanian opposition party accused the government of blocking it from holding campaign events in the run-up to tightly-fought national elections set for October 25.

“We are being stopped from visiting hospitals and holding rallies in stadiums,” James Mbatia, an official with the the NCCR-Mageuzi party, which is a partner in the the opposition Ukawa coalition, told reporters in the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

Ukawa is an alliance of opposition parties led by former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who defected from the ruling CCM when he was rejected as its presidential candidate.

Read: As second ex-prime minister decamps to the opposition, Tanzania election race to be the country’s tightest ever

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete is stepping down after two terms. Public Works Minister John Magufuli has been chosen to succeed him representing the CCM, or Chama Cha Mapinduzi, which has ruled the East African nation since its independence from Britain in 1961.

The Ukawa coalition is planning to hold its first official campaign rally at a park in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, Mbatia said. “But we are being denied permission on the grounds that the venue is already booked,” he said. “Our rights are being violated. We want to conduct a peaceful campaign.”

Tanzania police spokeswoman Advera Senso said in a text message that she was in a meeting and unavailable to speak when Bloomberg called seeking comment.

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