US chides Zanzibar for rescheduling election re-run
The United States has deplored the decision by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) to schedule the second round of elections without consensus from major political parties.
The call from US comes barely three days after Zanzibar’s main Opposition party Civic United Front (CUF) announced it will boycott March 20th election run due to sharp disagreements with the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
The two parties are at loggerheads over last year’s general election results on the semi-autonomous Island of which Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) controversially nullified.
In a statement Friday, the United States regretted “the decision of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission to announce a date for a new election on Zanzibar without achieving an inclusive, negotiated agreement on the way forward.”
The US further appealed to the Tanzanian government and President John Magufuli to intervene and forge 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,” the US statement adds.
The United States has already taken punitive action on the matter by withholding over $472 m in the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporations (MCC), the suspension of the massive grant also was prompted by the decision by the Tanzanian government to pass and implement the contentious CyberCrime Act of 2015.
Prof Abdallah Safari of the opposition party Chadema told Afrika Reporter US stance will exert positive pressure on the Tanzanian government and that the US is likely to unveil more counter measures if the government fails to take appropriate actions.
“I welcome this decision and I think it’s positive to the future of this nation,” he said.
While the US urged all parties to exercise restraint, and to come together in a spirit of unity and compromise, observers say there’s rampant human rights violations on the Island.
Zanzibar is set for re-run this March following the nullification of the general elections in October last year by the election commission Chairman Jecha Salum Jecha.
Thirteen opposition parties out of 14 which took part in the last year’s election have all vowed not to participate in the second round of elections on grounds that there have been no valid reason for nullification of last year’s polls in the first place.