Tanzanian President Sworn-In
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) _ Promising to broaden his bold political and economic reforms, President Benjamin Mkapa was sworn in for his second and final term of office Thursday.
``The main task ahead of us is to build the foundation of a modern economy, of a self-reliant nation, and to empower our people economically,″ Mkapa said in his inaugural address at Dar es Salaam’s National Stadium where he was joined by seven other African leaders.
The 62-year-old former journalist and diplomat, who was first elected in 1995, won a landslide victory in Tanzania’s second multiparty elections on Oct. 29, gaining 71.7 percent of the presidential vote, defeating three opposition opponents.
But Mkapa’s victory has been marred by the electoral chaos that has taken place in Tanzania’s semiautonomous region of Zanzibar.
Opposition leaders boycotted his inauguration and the heads of three of the five opposition parties which have of won seats in new parliament, say they will not recognize Mkapa’s election, citing widespread irregularities in the archipelago’s vote.
Zanzibaris and Tanzanians went to the polls to elect a president, National Assembly and local councilors. In the archipelago, residents also voted for their own president and 50-seat House of Representatives.
But after numerous problems with Zanzibar’s Oct. 29 vote _ which international observers said was plagued with irregularities _ elections were rerun on Sunday in 16 of archipelago’s 50 districts. Three opposition parties demanded new elections in all 50 districts.
The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party won the elections in Zanzibar and the mainland.
Under the Tanzanian constitution, Mkapa’s second term will be his last.
Since he came to power, Mkapa has speeded up economic reforms, slashing inflation from over 30 percent to less than 6 percent, increasing domestic and foreign investment, and reducing the national debt. He is also credited with improving public revenues after abolishing inconsistent tax exemptions and plugging loopholes in finance legislation.
In the mainland’s legislative elections, CCM won 167 of the 181 National Assembly seats with the remaining 14 split between five opposition parties.