Zanzibar: Nine opposition parties to boycott election re- run

Eight more opposition parties in Zanzibar announced on Sunday that they plan to boycott the March 20, election re-run in protest of what they called ‘unfair voting’, a move likely to lead to the worst political crisis on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Island.

The parties now join Zanzibar’s main opposition party—CUF which declared earlier on that it will not take part in the planned re-run following last year’s elections which were declared invalid due to alleged irregularities.

The latest parties to declare their withdrawal from the re-run include Chauma, DP, Demokrasia Makini, SAU, Jahazi Asilia, NRA, UPDP and UMD. CUF is supported by the coalition of People’s Constitution which includes Chadema, NCCR Mageuzi and NRD.
However four other parties including CCM, Tadea, TLP and AFP have vowed to take part in the re-run which is due on March 20.
Already all the eight political parties have submitted their letters to the Zanzibar Electoral Commission stating their intension not to participate in the planned re-run.

The Chairman of the alliance of opposition parties, Mohammed Masoud told a Press Conference in Dar es Salaam on Sunday that the Electoral body and the registrar of political parties have been lobbying them to participate in the elections.

“Our position is very clear. We’re not siding with any of the main parties CCM and CUF – why should we go back into an election that was globally acclaimed to have been fairly conducted,” “We just see it’s not fair and the re-run will automatically make the voting not fair,” he emphasized.

Kassim Bakar Ali, Chairman for Jahazi Asilia and presidential candidate in last year’s election said it’s all clear that the results have already been planned for the second round of polls.

He highlighted worries that Zanzibar Electoral Commission had scrapped election results and the Union Government is silent about the decision on the pretext that the commission is independent.