Magufuli: Door for dialogue still open in Zanzibar
Just weeks ahead of the Zanzibar’s second round of elections, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has said it is not too late for parties and leaders to forge on the political way forward in the East African Semi-autonomous island.
Speaking to the members of the diplomatic corps Monday in Dar es Salaam, Magufuli told diplomats there’s still a possibility for stakeholders to agree on the electoral roadmap thereby resolving the current political standoff.
Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) has set March 20 for re-run after nullifying last year’s poll results citing rampant irregularities.
The European Union and the United States elections observers had pronounced the election peaceful, free and fair.
Magufuli’s statement comes a week after the US urged his intervention in the dispute to encourage dialogue.
“We call on the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and President Magufuli to fully engage all parties to reach a prompt, peaceful, and inclusive solution on Zanzibar. Such a solution would be necessary to allow U.S. observation of any electoral process,” US State Department said in a statement last week.
The government in Tanzania says dialogue has been in progress since November last year but thus far the parties have not been able to agree on both last year’s election and the forthcoming one.
The governing party, Chama Cha Mapnduzi (CCM) is favour of a re-run alleging the October 2015 election wasn’t free and fair whereas Civic United Front (CUF) and other opposition parties have announced they are boycotting the March 20 poll and that the results of last election should stand.
President Magufuli has warned the opposition in Zanzibar against not participating scheduled election saying the decision jeopardizes chances for dialogue.
“The opposition have to validate their claims through the ballot box. There is no better way of resolving this impasse than through another round of free, fair and transparent elections,” he said adding “We hope all genuine friends of Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole will support this option.”
Zimbabwe Ambassador to Tanzania and acting Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Tanzania Edzai Chimonyo said the people of Zanzibar need to bury their differences and seek a lasting solution of the crisis.