Saturday, October 31, 2015

Enough is enough - Maalim Seif

Civic United Front (CUF) General Secretary and Zanzibar presidential candidate, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, has issued a three-day ultimatum to the Zanzibar government to proceed with the release of election results or let Zanzibaris decide their fate.

Tension and anxiety have continued to grip Zanzibar after the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) decided to nullify the election results under dubious circumstances on Tuesday.

He issued a strong warning to the government not to try to play with the minds of the people, as it would fuel unnecessary chaos in the country.

Maalim Seif, who looked furious while speaking to reporters at the party’s headquarters along Mtendeni Street, said: “Enough is enough, because it seems the government has no intention to resolve the election stand-off”.

 “If the government does not work on the matter quickly until November 1, CUF officials  and I will leave the matter in the hands of Zanzibaris, whose democratic right to chose the leaders they want has been undermined by some few people for their own interest,” he stressed.

Maalim Seif, who is also First Vice-President in the government of nation unity in the Isles, said he had worked tirelessly to calm down the public from taking matters in their own hands, insisting that “time is over now”.

He said he would let the people decide what to do with their future, but was optimistic that Zanzibaris would demand their rights in peace without having to resort to violence.

He said CUF had used various diplomatic channels to see how best the matter could be addressed but the other side had maintained its silence.

He said he had made strenuous efforts to communicate with Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, and Union President Jakaya Kikwete, but both appeared to have no intention of meeting him.

Maalim Seif pointed out that he had also been going to great lengths to ask ZEC to reconsider its decision to nullify the election, but there was no response.

He also said to have written a letter to Dr Shein about his readiness to meet with him, which the president reportedly accepted, but to date the president was yet to fix an appointment with him.

“I am ready to meet with Dr Shein because CUF wants to solve this matter peaceful, without affecting any person, but it seems our colleagues are not in a position to meet us to find a better way of solving this dubious issue,” he stressed.

The CUF presidential candidate noted that Dr Shein’s silence on the matter still rang in the minds of the majority of Zanzibaris about his readiness to find a peaceful solution to the matter.

According to Maalim Seif, Zanzibar’s constitution of 1984, Section 28(2) points out that Dr Shein’s term ends on November 2, but ZEC has yet to declare a winner in the presidential race, saying the move would spark a constitutional crisis in the isles.

He explained that Zanzibar would have no president,  members of the House of Representatives or a government after November 2, saying the situation would cause paralysis in the administrative machinery.

Maalim Seif also wondered why a large number of soldiers and military trucks were being sent to the islands now while the people were maintaining peace and harmony.

“We are really tired of how things are being handled because some residents are undergoing torture and being taken to unknown places,” he said.

In another development, the Zanzibar Law Society (ZLS) has condemned nullification of the general election in the isles, calling on ZEC to reconsider it for the sake of the country’s peace and stability.

ZLS president, Awadhi Ali Said, called on Dr Shein to form a committee to investigate the ZEC chairman, Jecha Salim Jecha.
 
“Jecha should resign and face the consequences due to his illegal move which has caused panic amongst the public,” he said.

Political observers believe that ZEC’s decision to nullify the election results would plunge the islands into violence reminiscent of that which occurred in 2001.

Election observers have on different occasions issued statements expressing concern about the ZEC decision. The observers have called on the Zanzibar electoral body to finalise the tallying of presidential results and announce them to the public.

Foreign countries which have expressed concern include the US and the United Kingdom, while election observer mission are those of the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, the European Union, and East African Community.
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