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Review of 2020 African polls [1] – Tanzania, Burundi, Seychelles, Malawi | Africanews

Elections generally have become a key fixture on the African news calendar and the year 2020 was no different.

West and East Africa experienced a number of key presidential votes that saw incumbents being retained whiles in southern Africa, specifically in Malawi; a rerun was won by the opposition coalition candidate.

As part of our 2020 review, we look back at some of the major elections that took place. The review metrics shall be the significance of the vote, the main candidates, major issues, the final outcome and the poll aftermath.

The first of this two-part series will focus on East Africa where elections took place in Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi and Seychelles.

 Burundi replaces Nkurunziza 

In May, Burundians went to the polls to elect a new president. Then incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza had signalled his exit when the ruling party nominated Evariste Ndayishimiye as its candidate.

The vote took place despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic. Government also blocked the internet on the day of the vote citing security reasons.

Ndayishimiye, as candidate of the ruling party, CNDD - FDD had his main contender in the person of Agathon Rwasa – a veteran opposition candidate who had previously lost against Nkurunziza.

Ndayishimiye won over 68% of votes with the main opposition CNL party’s Agathon Rwasa garnering 24%, according to the elections body, CENI.

The results were contested unsuccessfully and as a result of Nkurunziza’s death, swearing-in of the president-elect was brought forward.

 Seychelles votes out President Danny Faure

Seychellois went to the polls in October to vote a new president. Veteran opposition candidate Wavel Ramkalawan was declared winner, upsetting incumbent Danny Faure. Ramkalawan polled nearly 54.9% according to the country's electoral commission.

Faure, president since 2016, was widely expected to win as the opposition fielded two candidates.

A priest, Ramkalawan had sought the presidency six times before emerging victorious. His win ends the dominance of the United Seychelles Party, which has governed since 1977.

Ramkalawan of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa party campaigned on the pledge to raise the Indian Ocean country's minimum wage.

Tanzania president secures resounding re-election 

When opposition parties in Tanzania hinted of uniting ahead of keenly watched October polls, watchers observed that the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM, could be in for a shock.

More so due to government’s seeming autocratic and highhanded stance towards opponents, media and rights activists. Dodoma’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was also largely criticized as overly laid back.

Then exiled lawmaker Tundu Lissu returned to lead the main opposition party, CHADEMA, into the polls. He was the main contender to incumbent John Magufuli. The lead up to the polls saw incidents of opposition intimidation by especially the police.

On the date of vote, social media was cut as had largely been speculated. When the results were announced, Magufuli polled 12.5 million votes, or 84%,