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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.
 
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 
 
successful implementation of the proposed conditions,” he suggested
 
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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