Friday, November 27, 2015

Zanzibar talks in ‘good progress’

The ongoing discussions under closed doors between President Ali Mohamed Shein and one ofhis deputies, First Vice- President Seif Sharif Hamad, to end political dispute following the nullification of the last month general election, are progressing well. According to the Second Vice-President, Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi, the frequent discussions which started mid-this month, have been making progress positively heading to a close agreement to have fresh polls in the near future. The Chairman of Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mr Jecha Salim Jecha, nullified the results of the October 25 elections, citing massive fraud, including double voting in Pemba. Mr Hamad and the Civic United Front (CUF) leadership protested the invalidation. “Zanzibar remains politically stable because we are committed to keep peace. Discussions have been going on well and it has been agreed to have fresh polls,’’ the second VP said. We are still discussing modalities, including whether to allow the current ZEC to manage the fresh elections. People will be informed later on the outcome of the discussions,” Mr Idd admitted yesterday to have been quoted by RFI radio.Mr Iddi said that the October 25 polls were peaceful though not free and fair, ‘’particularly in Pemba Island.’’ He added that it was unfortunate that international election observers did not keep an open eye on Pemba Island and therefore, ‘’missed to learn about the massive cheating there.” 

Zanzibar President Dr. Mohammed Shein (left)shakes hands with the Secretary General of CUF opposition party leader Seif Sharif

The Second VP maintained that the current Government of National Unity (GNU), under President Shein, was still legitimate as per Zanzibar constitution, asking the people in the Islands to keep peace, stability and wait for fresh elections. He said the Zanzibar Government would manage the costs for the fresh elections, expressing his disappointment with some ZEC officials who he charged ruined the elections, adding that the police in Zanzibar were preparing to arrest and prosecute the suspects behind the sabotage. But in a shocking revelation of events, the CUF Deputy Secretary General, Mr Nassor Ahmed Mazrui, said here yesterday that the discussions at the Zanzibar State House involving Ambassador Iddi, Mr Seif, Dr Shein, and retired leaders; Mr Amani Abeid Karume and Mzee Ali Hassan Mwinyi, were still in deadlock. “Our leaders are still discussing while we (CUF) still disagree with the fresh elections because there is no justification at all to call for new elections.

We ask (Union) President Magufuli to work with the international community to press for the resume of tallying and release of results,” Mr Mazrui said. He pointed out that that he has not heard from Mr Seif on any agreement that has been made, expressing hope, however, that the current political dispute is supposed to end as soon as possible because “people need to focus on other development issues’’.

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