The Union Government has appealed for calm during the general election re-run in Zanzibar on Sunday, assuring voters and the general public of adequate security during the entire exercise.
Home Affairs Minister Charles Kitwanga told the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam that 250 soldiers from the Field Force Unit (FFU) have been deployed to Zanzibar to reinforce the security arrangement there in the countdown to the polls.
"We will station enough policemen on both Unguja and Pemba to ensure maximum security before, during and after the elections," Mr Kitwanga said. He, however, assured the public that the deployment of the anti-riot FFU to the Isles was not meant to intimidate voters and the general public but rather to ensure their maximum security and safety.
"All good-intentioned Zanzibaris should go to the polling stations on Sunday and exercise their constitutional right by casting their votes peacefully and immediately leave the centres for home and wait for the results," Mr Kitwanga appealed.
He described as unfortunate the acts of violence that hit Pemba recently in which unknown people torched several houses. Police in Pemba have launched a manhunt for arsonists who torched seven houses in incidents linked to political animosity ahead of Sunday's general election re-run. According to police reports, over 20 people allegedly linked to the incident have already been arrested.
"However, we have so far managed to contain the situation. We shall beef up security in both Pemba and Unguja," Mr Kitwanga pledged. Meanwhile, the minister has said that it is safe to visit Zanzibar.
"There is peace and tranquillity in Zanzibar and every visitor is guaranteed his or her safety and security. Visitors should feel secure and visit Zanzibar like they are visiting any part of Tanzania", said the minister.
"In the same way that tourists visit Dar es Salaam or fly to Mwanza, they also should feel comfortable to visit Zanzibar. He also assured that the elections will not affect tourism in the Isles.