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article imageTanzania voters head to the polls in presidential election

By Andrew Moran     Oct 31, 2010 in Politics
Arusha - The east African nation of Tanzania is holding a presidential election that will see incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete face off against five other candidates, including his closest rival Wilbrod Slaa.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Tanzania is the second-richest nation in the eastern region of Africa. Tanzania ranks 85th in terms of gross domestic product with $57.69 billion, its primary exports include gold, cotton, coffee and other commodities and maintains a modest 2.7 on the Corruption Perception Index, which is average in Africa.
On Sunday, millions of Tanzanians head to the polls to take part in the presidential election that will see President Jakaya Kikwete fight for re-election against main opposition Party of Democracy and Development leader Wilbrod Slaa, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo and Ibrahim Lipumba, according to the Associated Press.
The country’s ruling party has been in power for more than 50 years, which has united his opposition because their primary mantra has been to focus on several recent corruption scandals that has eroded the government’s popularity over the years.
Bloomberg News reports that an opinion poll conducted by the University of Dar es Salaam this month suggests that President Kikwete has about 71.2 percent support, while the rest are trailing by large margins.
The President, a former Economist, served as foreign minister for 10 years before running for office in 2005. Since then, Kikwete’s policies have generated annual growth of approximately 6.7 percent.
Despite the growth, though, more than 47 percent of the nation lives in poverty. The average income in 2010 has been $480.
Part of Kikwete’s platform this election year has been to improve education facilities and decrease poverty in the nation, while also improving health and transportation services. However, his candidates have said he has broken his promises, reports CNN International.
“Life was hard five years ago, and it still is today,” said one potential voter, Duiko Juma. “I want change for development: safe water, good jobs, hospitals. I don’t know if any candidate would deliver on that.”
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