Tanzania’s new President, John Magufuli, has promised to unite the country, create more jobs and drive up economic growth.
“It is now time for us to unite and put our ideological differences aside,” Magufuli, 56, told thousands of supporters during his swearing-in ceremony at the country’s National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, on Friday.
“I will work hard for all Tanzanians regardless of their tribal, religious or ideological affiliations,” he said.
Magufuli took over from Jakaya Kikwete, who served two terms.
The ruling CCM party, which had governed the East African country since independence in 1961, faced its toughest electoral challenge in years after the main opposition parties united for the first time around a candidate, Edward Lowassa.
Lowassa, 62, a former prime minister who defected from the ruling party in July, rejected the electoral commission’s declaration, claiming that he won the presidential polls.
Both candidates had promised to speed up development in a nation that has vast agricultural land, a wealth of mineral resources and huge gas reserves but remains impoverished.
Magufuli secured 58 per cent of the votes, while Lowassa had 40 per cent.
But, his victory was overshadowed by a political crisis in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago.
Guests at the swearing-in included South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe.
The main opposition coalition, which contested the Oct. 25 poll results, boycotted the inauguration and threatened to hold nationwide demonstrations.