Opposition ‘edges out’ CCM in Zanzibar

Opposition supporter destroying a car allegedly transporting ruling CCM material

Opposition supporters destroying a car allegedly transporting ruling CCM material

Seif Sharif Hamad, Civic United Front (CUF) and opposition alliance UKAWA presidential candidate in Zanzibar has announced to beat his ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) challenger Ali Mohammed Shein 200,077 votes to 178, 363.

Hamad is supported by the three other opposition parties (Chadema, NCCR Mageuzi, and NLD) forming the coalition of the people’s constitution popularly known as UKAWA.

Addressing a press conference in Zanzibar Monday morning, Hamad who is the outgoing First Vice President on the island said “the people of Zanzibar have decided.”

Hamad is confident CUF and UKAWA have wrestled CCM, the influential and dominant ruling party that has been at the helm of power for nearly four decades.

The official results however, have not been announced by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), Hamad and his campaign claim their historic victory is due to the results collected from majority polling stations across the semi-autonomous island.

“There is no doubt that Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad has won the election and CCM being defeated since 1977,” Hamad told the press.

He urged the electoral commission to announce the results without delay and that the outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete help facilitate the transition in the Isles.

CUF and CCM have a standing agreement since 2009, that a party that wins will go ahead and form a government of national unity. In 2010 general election CCM won and formed a government of national unity in which Hamad was appointed First Vice President.

Meanwhile, vote counting on the mainland continues but several polling stations were open Monday to allow voters who did not get a chance to cast their votes to do so. Monday’s voting was for president and members of parliament as voters who didn’t vote for their councilors Sunday will have to do so at a later date to be determined by the National Electoral Commission.

Preliminary reports indicate out of eight political parties which participated in the fifth democratic election only Chadema and the governing CCM are engaged in a tight race.

CCM presidential contender John Magufuli, current Minister of Works, and Chadema and UKAWA’s Edward Lowassa voted Sunday and each camp is confident of victory in the general election. Lowassa is the country’s former prime minister.

Also there have been reports of election fraud involving stuffed ballots, and in one rural area, a man transporting CCM campaign t-shirts and marked ballot papers in favour of the ruling party candidate Magufuli was captured by opposition supporters who beat him up, destroying his car and seizing and burning the ballots. some reports say the car and election material belonged to the electoral commission

“We seem to be heading to results that may not be credible, and therefore might not be accepted not just by political parties, but will not be accepted by the voters themselves,” Chadema Representative, Mwesiga Baregu told reporters.
Analysts have warned given the level of interest competition in this year’s election, anything can trigger violence.