The State House has learnt, with regret, claims by the Secretary General of the Civic United Front (CUF) and its Presidential candidate in this year’s General Elections in Zanzibar, Honorable Seif Shariff Hamad, that he has been ignored and his request for an appointment with President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, to discuss the political situation in Zanzibar, turned down.
Statement by Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad on 30 October 2015
THE PEOPLE OF ZANZIBAR ARE LOSING PATIENCE
Last Sunday, October 25th, 2015, the people of Zanzibar exercised their constitutional right to vote and elect a leader of their choosing for the next five years.
International and local Observers – from the EU, AU, SADC, Commonwealth and EAC, as well as observers from the UK and the US – were unanimous in their assessment that the elections followed all constitutional procedures and were free, fair and peaceful.
Even the Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, Jecha Salim Jecha, declared that the election was free and fair and had taken place in a peaceful atmosphere.
The verification of the results was progressing in a good spirit at the Bwawani Hotel even though the pace was extremely slow. But there was transparency and everyone, including the ZEC Commissioners, was satisfied that that results were authentic.
The ZEC Chairman signed the forms that had been verified. We are in possession of 31 forms that he signed.
On Wednesday October 28th while the ZEC Commissioners prepared to verify and announce the outstanding results – five constituencies form Unguja and 14 from Pemba – the ZEC Chairman without consultation with his fellow Commissioners decided to nullify the election.
The ZEC Chairman advanced the reason that the election in Pemba was fatally defective and he was supported by CCM. This was long after they had become aware that they had been defeated.
Yet the same CCM is satisfied with the vote for the President of the Union Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Mafafuli, which includes results from all constituencies in Pemba. How can the ZEC election be so defective that it is cancelled yet those same voters in the same polling stations are counted in the NEC election?
A number of impartial organizations including the Human Rights and Good Governance Commission, the Zanzibar Law Society, six political parties that participated in the Presidential election of Zanzibar, and the entire international community including the election observer teams have called for ZEC to conclude the verification and announce the winner.
ZEC and the governments of Zanzibar and the United Republic of Tanzania have ignored all these pleas.
Instead, we have witnessed many incidents of the Zanzibar Security Forces beating people and in Tumbatu Island the houses of citizens were torched without any reason.
The people of Zanzibar have had enough of this situation and are losing their patience.
We have information that since the ZEC Chairman’s decision, all the CCM agents in Pemba have been called by ZEC officials and they are assisting them in filling out complaint forms to retroactively justify the cancellation of the election.
We are telling CCM that we know what you are up to and are not going to accept it.
There is no other way than to conclude the verification process and to declare the winner of the election.
Personally, I have tried many times to call Jakaya Kikwete, the President of Tanzania, and have sent messages through his aides with the aim of meeting him to resolve this crisis. But he has avoided speaking to me.
I have written a letter to Ali Mohamed Shein, the President of Zanzibar, in the hope of finding a solution. He sent me a reply and I replied to him expressing a willingness to meet. But until now I have not received a response and he does not answer his phone when I call.
The constitutional five-year tenure of the President of Zanzibar ends on Monday November 2nd, 2015. On that day, Zanzibar will be without a government.
If we get to that point our country will be in a Constitutional crisis.
We at CUF have walked the extra mile to find a solution, but the leadership of CCM has made no effort at all.
Instead, President Kikwete has dispatched the military from Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar.
Our people have been exceedingly disciplined and restrained and have heeded our repeated calls for calm because they believe that their leaders are working on finding a solution.
We continue to engage with the international community and everyone who is ready to find a solution so that the verification of the election results can be completed in the remaining 14 constituencies and for the winner of the election to be declared.
But if November 1st is reached without any meaningful movement towards concluding these elections and respecting the democratic will of the people of Zanzibar, my fellow CUF leaders and I will step back and leave this to the people to decide what to do.
We believe that the international community and all Tanzanians who believe in peace and human rights will back the Zanzibaris in whatever decision they take.
Seif Sharif Hamad
Vice President of Zanzibar, Leader of CUF