Opposition challenges election annulment in Zanzibar

Security forces patrolling the streets of Zanzibar after a bomb explosion, residents have been protesting the electoral commission decision to nullify results, tension remains high on the Island as its political future hangs in the balance

Security forces patrolling the streets of Zanzibar after a bomb explosion, residents have been protesting the electoral commission decision to nullify results, tension remains high on the Island as its political future hangs in the balance

The Civic United Front (CUF) members of the newly elected Zanzibar House of Representatives have petitioned the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) challenging its recent decision to idefinitely nullify the October 25 election results.

In their petition, the representatives dismiss the electoral commission’s “unconstitutional” move saying they were legally elected during last month’s “free and fair” election and want ZEC Chairman Jecha Salum Jecha to immediately revoke his statement and resume tallying exercise of the remaining votes.

The three page petition issued in Dar es Salaam Monday indicates the decision by the Commission Chairman to nullify presidential poll results in the Isles was unconstitutional and he (Jecha) had no power to annul the results.

Zanzibar Election Act, 1984 and the constitution of 1984 allows Zanzibar High Court to nullify elections results but not an individual nor ZEC Chairman.

“The chairman has brought about constitutional confusion in the Isles,” Abubakar Khamis Bakari told reporters in Dar es Salaam on behalf of ‘protesting’ representatives.

“We have no president, vice presidents nor ministers … we don’t have a government,” he added noting retiring President Dr Ali Mohammed Shein has no power to summon members of the house of representatives.

Bakari, former Minister for Justice and Constitutional affairs says the constitution provides for a five year-term for each newly elected government thus President Shein’s term has expired yet he is still in office.
The new lawmakers argue the electoral commission chairman shouldn’t have cancelled the results unilaterally without consulting with other members on the commission.

“This is very clear that the decision was not made by the commission but by Jecha,” he said.
In addition, the disgruntled members say the election was certified by election observers to have been free and fair and don’t understand why the ZEC chairman came to the decision to nullify them.

“We have been issued with certificates recognizing we have won the elections,” Nassoro Ahmed Mazuhuri said adding “we want the election commission to resume work and announce the winner.”

CUF had (before the commission announcement) won eighteen seats in Pemba and nine seats in Unguja.
The representatives do not trust the electoral commission to organize the re-election due to take place in the next few weeks.

The Zanzibar Electoral Commission Chairman’s decision has been condemned by the international community including the United States.

The chairman based his decision to annul the election on reports of massive fraud in the election.