Tanzanians headed to the polls on Wednesday for presidential and parliamentary elections.
More than 29 million people are registered to vote out of 58 million citizens. They will choose from 15 presidential candidates and elect lawmakers for 264 parliamentary seats.
President John Magufuli is seeking another five-year term on the platform of the ruling party CCM, which has governed the country since independence in 1961.
Magufuli’s main challengers include Tundu Lissu of the opposition CHADEMA and former foreign minister Bernard Membe of ACT-Wazalendo.
Analysts expect Magufuli to easily win the election as he has performed well and the ruling party is so entrenched that the opposition stands little chances of clinching power.
Under the president, Tanzania has recorded average growth of close to 7% over the last four years, according to official figures, as the government invested billions of dollars in infrastructure including a new railway, a hydropower dam and planes for the national airline.
CCM won the presidency with 58% of votes in 2015 and currently holds about three-quarters of parliamentary seats. Tanzania uses a first-past-the post system.
The opposition and rights groups say authorities have cracked down on critical voices by closing down media outlets and banning public rallies during Magufuli’s first term.
Last week, a coalition of 65 international rights groups issued a letter accusing the government of harassing NGOs and abusing the power of the justice system.
Opposition parties said police disrupted their campaigns and electoral authorities disqualified dozens of their parliamentary candidates.
The government has previously denied any crackdown and the National Electoral Commission has rejected accusations of unfair treatment.