CUF officially boycotts Isles poll re-run

29Jan 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
CUF officially boycotts Isles poll re-run

The Civic United Front (CUF) has officially declared that it will not

take part in the Zanzibar presidential election re-run scheduled for March

20, this year. The party announced yesterday clearing the air over its

stand.

CUFSecretary General Seif Sharif Hamad (r) and the party’s acting National Chairman Twaha Taslima (l).

CUF Supreme Council, the party’s topmost decision-making organ, finally

reached the no-participation decision following the governing council

meeting which was held behind closed-doors yesterday at the party’s

headquarters in Dar es Salaam.

Speaking to reporters at the party’s Buguruni headquarters, the CUF acting

chairman Twaha Tasilima said after the internal meetings, the party’s top

officials agreed that the re-run poll will not be free and fair.
“We have chosen to stay out of the scheduled re-run because it will likely

lead to ahe said.

Tasilima added that two decisions made by the Zanzibar Electoral

Commission (ZEC) to nullify the October 25, 2015 election results and the

recent announcement of the re-run date violated the law.

Speaking at the same event yesterday, CUF Secretary General Seif Shariff

Hamad said the decision was well thought-out and with good intentions.
“We want to see peace prevail in Zanzibar. We urge all Zanzibaris to stay

calm during this difficult period,” he said:

“There is no need for us to take part in an election while we know that

CCM has already rigged it,” Hamad charged.

When ZEC chairman Jecha Salim Jecha cancelled the results midway last

year, CUF maintained its candidate Seif Shariff Hamad was ahead of the

incumbent Ali Mohammed Shein. The party has so far maintained the

announcement of last year’s poll and we demanded the rightful winner be

declared.

A fortnight ago, Hamad told reporters in Dar es Salaam that a repeat of

the Zanzibar presidential election “was not an option for the party”,

leaving room for hopes that the party which is part of the Government of

National Unity (GNU) in the Isles, may participate in the polls

But yesterday, the party was categorical, maintaining that the scheduled

rerun lacked legal basis.

In his speech two weeks ago, Hamad who is also First Vice President in the

GNU said that the idea of a re-election was baseless, lacked a legal basis

and was intended to make the Isles to fall under an unconstitutional

leadership.

He said buying the re-run proposal could lead to chaos and confusion as

well as a constitutional and legal crisis.

According to him CCM has been pushing for re-election after the Zanzibar

Electoral Commission (ZEC) controversially declared the earlier poll null

and void “simply because it (CCM) wants to protect its political interests

after having lost in October”.

Hamad maintained that, the suggestion to go for a re-run was untenable;

“because the decision to nullify the October 25 election lacks legal

grounds,” he said.

“Should that thought be implemented, it may create illegal bases upon

which future elections may be adversely affected,” he said.

He was also of the view that there is lack of evidence on the

irregularities claimed to have marred the General Election.

He said that during meetings that discussed the political situation in

Zanzibar, President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein and Second Vice President Seif

Ali Iddi were pushing for re-election and defended the position by the ZEC

Chairman to nullify the election results.

On several occasions, he said, CCM has been asked to submit evidence on

the allegations that the Isles elections were sabotaged but it has failed

to fulfill the requirement.

“I have been insisting on the need to respect the people’s constitutional

decision made on October 25 last year which saw local and foreign

observers and the Commission Chairman confirm that the elections were free

and fair,” he said.

He said that since the parties involved in the talks have failed to reach

consensus, CUF decided that a full report on all meetings held should be

prepared and presented to them for approval and then be submitted to their

respective political parties.

To amicably resolve the Zanzibar political standoff, Hamad suggested, ZEC

chairman Jecha Salim Jecha must resign or be suspended for violating the

Isles’ Constitution and allowing the ZEC vice chairman to proceed with the

release of the election results.

“As ZEC chairman, he had no authority to make any decision without

presenting it to the Commissioners’ meeting, for this is contrary to

Section 119 of the Zanzibar Constitution. Jecha also announced the

nullification of the election results while knowing that he had no legal

authority to do so,” he said.

“ZEC Vice Chairman and the remaining commissioners should be allowed to

continue releasing the election results of the nine constituencies which

had already been verified and they should complete the verification of the

remaining 14 and hence declare the winner,” he said.

“This decision is right under Section 119 (10) of the Zanzibar

Constitution and Section 42 (6) of the Election Act which requires the

presidential results to be announced within three days,” he said.

“It is high time President John Magufuli started leading the talks for the