Zanzibar Opposition calling for ‘Peaceful Active Resistance’ in the East African island

Zanzibar opposition leader Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad says democracy is in real trouble in Tanzania. Photo By MSIMULIZI

‘Ruling Party Syndrome’ rearing its ugly head all over East Africa, the Zanzibar’s opposition leader said Sunday.

The recent political crisis in Zanzibar is further proof that Tanzania’s CCM is no different from other ruling parties in the region that are willing to cling to power at all cost, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, Civic United Front (CUF) Secretary General told Toronto’s Zanzibari community at the Iftar, organized for the former first vice president of Zanzibar and his delegation.

“We have a situation where only Zambia and Malawi has seen regime change since the independence of most countries in the southern African nations,” stated the 72-years-old Zanzibari politician.

“Resulting in a severe depletion of democratic values and human rights in the region,” said Maalim Seif, in Swahili.

Last October, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) annulled the elections, sinking the tiny island on the East Coast of Africa in a deep political and constitutional crisis.

ZEC later ordered a re-run in which CUF boycotted.

The Civic United Front says it won island’s 2015 general elections and 5 previously held elections on the island, but CCM are not willing to relinquish power.

“Some of CCM cadres are even openly saying, CCM is not going to give up power by the result of the ballot box!,” stated Maalim Seif, who was jailed, during the single party state system in Tanzania.

CUF is now calling for a non-violent active resistance on the island, Maalim said.

Echoing Ismail Jussa Ladhu,  a co-speaker at the event, who until last elections represented the Stonetown constituency in the Zanzibar House of Representatives, the opposition leader assured Toronto’s Zanzibari Community that this time things will be different and CUF will march on until justice is achieved and democracy prevails.

“Things are not going to be ‘business as usual’ this time around, the former prisoner of conscience said, to a long and thunderous applause from the audience.

CUF is taking its case to the international community.

“In the past CCM were able to manipulate some countries with their propaganda.” He said. ” it is no longer the case.”

Maalim Seif and his entourage are on a  shuttle diplomacy mission to several nations in the western hemisphere  to discuss the state of democracy and the recent political impasses in Zanzibar, a  semi-autonomous island, part of the United Republic of Tanzania.

They will  travel to Ottawa to meet Canadian government officials in coming days.

At the Q&A session, when a female audience asked what role can the Toronto’s Zanzibari community play in solving island’s current situation.

“Zanzibari-Canadian community is one of the strongest in the diaspora and could play a pivotal role and we thank you for all you’ve done including the peaceful demonstration at the Parliament. Said Jussa, CUF’s director of foreign affairs and international relation  “In days ahead we’ll discuss other ways with Zanzibar Canadian Association,” he added.

About Msimulizi

Publisher and Editor in chief MsimuliziOnline, community news and information hub serving East African-Canadians.

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