DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — John Pombe Magufuli was sworn in Thursday as the country’s fifth president in a ceremony attended by several African heads of state but boycotted by the country’s opposition which says the vote was rigged.
Chief Justice Mohammed Othman Chande also swore in Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the first female vice president in Tanzania.
Magufuli, whose Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or Party of the Revolution, faced tough competition for the first time at the ballot box from a united opposition, called for unity in the country in his acceptance speech. Opposition candidate Edward Lowassa has rejected the outcome from the October election, saying it was rigged, and did not attend Magufuli’s inauguration.
“I believe if we all work together to we will build a better Tanzania for everyone,” Magufuli said.
Magufuli, a former teacher, has been serving as public works minister in the government of the outgoing president, Jakaya Kikwete. Lowassa, who served as prime minister from 2005 to 2008, used to belong to the ruling party but defected after failing to become its presidential candidate.
The semi-autonomous island archipelago of Zanzibar also voted for its own president and other local leaders, but the results were nullified over allegations of voting irregularities. The opposition Civic United Front had claimed victory in Zanzibar’s presidential election.
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