Thursday, December 24, 2015

Provide Leadership to Zanzibar, Magufuli Asked


Dar es Salaam — The political landscape in Zanzibar has since the annulment of the isles election results two months ago been shrouded in total silence and complete secrecy.
Photos started to circulate in the social media platforms on Monday when Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, the Zanzibar First Vice President and presidential candidate on a CUF ticket, met Union President John Pombe Magufuli at the Magogoni State House.
Many welcomed them with optimism that the end for the Zanzibar stalemate was in sight, as Dr Magufuli had at last decided to step in.
However, according to a press statement availed to media houses later, Mr Hamad went to brief the President about the Zanzibar situation, leading Dr Magufuli to applaud ongoing talks, believing a solution to the impasse would only be arrived at the negotiation table.
"The President commended both Dr (Ali Mohamed) Shein and Mr Hamad for engaging in the talks. He urged them to stick to negotiations until the impasse is unlocked," said the State House statement in part.
In plain words, Dr Magufuli was confirming that even with a cloud of silence and secrecy surrounding the talks, no tangible solution was in sight yet.
Political science lecturer from the University of Dar es Salaam, Mr Richard Mbunda, told the Election Platform that the message did not augur well with the almost two-month long negotiations.
"Dr Magufuli's tone was more of an outsider, we expected him at this critical moment to become a central player. The talks are seemingly not to be moving in a desired direction, he needs to provide leadership on this matter," Mr Mbunda said.

He added that the situation was tricky, as the CUF believed they won the election, and that if they are to let go of it, they would never have it again. On the other hand, the ruling CCM do not want to lose their grip of power.
"But either way, the decision has to be reached. I'm not supporting the idea of conducting a re-run, but if Magufuli thinks this is the best way-out, he should tell the nation.
"Right from the beginning, the grounds used for annulling the resultswere baseless, so I believe even Dr Magufuli knows that the only way of ending the impasse in Zanzibar is to declare the winner," Mr Mbunda said.
His Ruaha Catholic University political science counterpart Gaudence Mpangala, said there was nothing to talk about in Zanzibar, and that CCM was to blame for the impasse.
"Since 1995, we've seen Zanzibar plunging into turmoil in post-election periods, save for 2010 when the CUF and CCM agreed to form the Government of National Unity (GNU) after they had successfully persuaded Mr Hamad to accept the results even if he himself knew it wasn't a fair deal," the lecturer said.
According to Prof Mpangala, Mr Hamad has shown a great deal of political maturity this year around by restaining his supporters from demonstrating and urging them to demand their right peacefully. "I believed with the GNU in place, CCM will stop behaving in the current manner and accept to hand over power peacefully," he said.
Prof Mpangala said Zanzibar was the most critical test for Dr Magufuli, and that his political reform record would be largely assessed by the way he will shape the solution to the impasse.
"If Magufuli is genuine, just, and God-fearing, as he claims to be, in his cause to bring change in this country, then Zanzibar presents him anacid test. He has no other option, but to smoothly facilitate the transfer of power to the CUF and Mr Hamad, in particular."
The Isles, like Mainland Tanzania, conducted General Election on October 25. However, the semiautonomous archipelago plunged into a political and constitutional crisis three days later when the isles elections results were unilaterally nullified by the Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mr Jecha Salim Jecha, claiming that the polls were marred by 'massive' irregularities.
At the time of annulment, the results of 31 constituencies out of 51 were already tallied and announced. Some of the winners had already been provided with certificates to authenticate their victories.
Mr Jecha said in his notice that a date will be announced for a fresh election, but two months down the line, there is no indication when the polls will be held.
While the CCM's candidate in the Union presidency, Dr Magufuli, is already in power, steering the fifth government to record performance in financial discipline, and earning himself local and international appraisement; in Zanzibar the future is uncertain.
Leaders of the rival parties of CCM and CUF in the isles have, since the crisis had broken out, been in closed-door meetings, trying to negotiate the way out

Source: Citizen.