19 March 2016

Tanzania: Zanzibar Ready for Polls

Photo: Daily News
Zanzibar president Ali Mohamed Shein casts his vote at Bungi village, South Unguja Region.

DISTRIBUTION of ballot boxes and papers to 1,583 voting stations across Zanzibar begins today, authorities have said. Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Director, Salum Kassim Ali, said here yesterday that the operation takes place today to avoid delay in voting starting time tomorrow.

"We are on track to finalise the arrangements for the Sunday elections. We have been careful enough to avoid irregularities and room for foul play. The elections will be peaceful, free and fair," said Mr Ali.

According to the ZEC director, the ballot papers were printed in South Africa by Uniprint of Durban at a cost of about 226,000 US dollars, a price that includes transportation of the 503,850 ballot papers to Zanzibar.

Despite protests from the main oppositionparty, the ballot papers contain all the names of the presidential candidates, Members of the House of Representatives and Councillors who competed in the last October elections before it was nullified.

Mr Jecha Salim Jecha, the ZEC Chairman, annulled the elections on October 28, last year, citing massive fraud and irregularities and that the only appropriate decision was to organise fresh elections.

Those on the presidential ballot paper include Dr Ali Mohamed Shein (CCM); Mr Seif Sharif Hamad (CUF); Mr Khamis Iddi Lila (ACT-Wazalendo); Mr Juma Ali Khatib (AD-TADEA); Mr Hamad Rashid Mohamed (ADC) and Mr Said Soud Said (AFP).

Others appearing on the ballot papers are Mr Ali Khatib Ali (CCK), Mr Mohamed Rashid Masoud (CHAUMMA), Mr Abdalla Kombo Khamis (DP), Mr Kassim Bakar Ally (Jahazi- Asilia), Mr Tabu Mussa Juma (Demokrasia Makini), Mr Seif Ali Iddi (NRA), Mr Issa Mohamed Zonga (SAU) and Mr Hafish Kassim Suleiman (TLP).

CCM leaders led by its Deputy Secretary General Mr Vuai Ali Vuai say they are prepared to win, while CUF maintain boycotting the fresh election saying it is illegal and unconstitutional.

The Commissioner of Police (CP) for Zanzibar, Mr Hamdan Omar Makame, has assured residents, voters and visitors including tourists of security during and after the polls. But CUF's Deputy Secretary Nassor Ahmed Mazrui has accused police for harassing party members and leaders.

"Two of our party leaders, Mr Hamad Masoud and Mr Mansour Yussuf Himid are among the 57 members of CUF in police custody. We need justice and police should not be biased in handling these cases," Mr Mazrui said.

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