Tanzania: Politicians Start Preparing for the Year-2000 Polls

Dar es Salaam — The general election that involved multiparty politics in the country, after a long period of one political system, took place in October 1995.

However, after the polls, some politicians started to prepare secretly for the October 29, 2000 General Election, whose schedule was unveiled on January 14, 2000.

Members of Parliament, on the same day after the schedule was unveiled, were informed that the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania would be dissolved on July 28 the same year to pave the way for preparations of the 2000 polls.

The lawyer of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mr Abraham Senguji, announced that nominations of presidential, parliamentary seat and councillorship contestants would be made on August 13, 2000.

According to the Tanzania Election Act under multiparty politics, Mr Senguji announced that aspirants would be picked not under five days or over 25 days after the disbandment of Parliament.

Campaigns were programmed to be launched on August 14 and wind up on October 28 before the polling day, according to Mr Senguji.

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The 2000 general election was the second one to be held under a multiparty political system as the first one took place in October 1995,

However, the 2000 polls were a bit different because aspirants vying for councillorship were involved unlike the October 1995 general election that only saw those who were contesting the presidency and parliamentary seats.

The reason was to reduce costs as Regional Administration and Local Government minister had the legal authority of extending tenure of office by councillors.

NEC's report signed by its election director, Mr Alex Banzi, showed that voters would start to register from August 1 to 21, 2000.

Since the polls that were held on September 1958 in Tanganyika/Tanzania, the October 29, 2000 general election was the eleventh .

The number of the General Election held under one political system were six while under a multiparty political system was five.

The first polls to elect members of the Legislative Council (Legco) took place in September 1958 and February 1959.

The next polls under a multiparty political system to choose members of Legco were held on August 30, 1961.

The third General Election that involved multiparty politics was last held on November 1, 1962 before the opposition was banned,

From then polls were run under mono political party system on September 30, 1965; October 30, 1970; October 26, 1975; October 26, 1980; October 27, 1985; October 28, 1990; October 29, 1995 and October 29, 2000.

In accordance with Tanzania's 1977 Constitution and Zanzibar's 1984 Constitution, the General Election is run after every five years, whereby voters elect presidents, MPs and councillors.

Besides Zanzibar voters electing president of the United Republic of Tanzania and Members of the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, they choose president Zanzibar, members of the House of Representatives and councillors.

In the United Republic of Tanzania, the five plus five year presidential term began under mono political party system, whereby a presidential contestant had no opponent.

As it was serialized earlier, the first ever polls to elect president of Zanzibar were held in October 1980.

From there, the next polls were held to elect presidents of Zanzibar and the United Republic respectively, MPs and members of the House of Representatives.

After the readoption of multiparty politics, polls in Tanzania/Zanzibar were run by involving contestants from different political parties registered according to the law.

In October 1995, polls were held to choose president of Zanzibar and chairman of the Revolutionary Government, members of the House of Representatives from 50 constituencies, 142 councillors and president of the United Republic and Members of Parliament.

The next polls were held in October 2000 to elect president of Zanzibar, members of the House of Representatives from 50 constituencies, 142 councillors, president of the United Republic and MPs.

Generally, presidential contestants in the 2000 polls of Zanzibar were CUF secretary general Seif Shariff Hamad; Dr Salmin Amour, who was seeking reelection and Aman Abeid Karume (CCM).

Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad

Seif Sherriff Hamad contested Zanzibar's presidency during the polls held in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, becoming the only politician in the country to vie for the highest office more than any other in Tanzania.

In 1995 Seif Shariff Hamad contested Zanzibar's presidency for the first time against CCM presidential flagbearer Dr Salmin Amour.

In accordance with the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), the results of the 1995 presidential election showed that Dr Salmin Amour emerged the winner by 50.24 percent of all the votes cast against Seif's 49.76. However, CUF declared not to recognize Dr Amour's victory.

Seif Shariff Hamad, on the CUF ticket, participated again in Zanzibar's 2000 presidential polls, challenging CCM presidential contestant Amani Abeid Karume, son of the first Zanzibar president, Abeid Amani Karume.

As it was in 1995, the CUF presidential flagbearer was also defeated in the 2000 polls, whose results by ZEC showed that the latter got 32.96 percent of all the votes cast while Karume won by 67.04 percent.

Dr Salmin Amour

The name of Dr Amour hit the headlines during the polls not only because he was seeking election, but also he was alleged to be intending to change Zanzibar's Constitution so to remain in power as his tenure of office had already ended.

A debate on changing the Constitution so that Dr Salmin could seek reelection was fiercer to the extent of diving CCM members at a meeting of the party's Central Committee held in Zanzibar.

In accordance with Zanzibar's 1984 Constitution, article 30(1)(b), edition of 1995: "A person will not be eligible to be elected president after he has already been chosen to hold the position for consecutive two presidential terms."

For all his efforts in changing the Constitution, the above article and that of 28(3) barred Dr Salmin from seeking reelection for another five tear presidential term.

Amani Abeid Karume

Although it was claimed that Dr Salmin intended to seek reelection in the polls and ready to amend Zanzibar's Constitution, he did not manage to do so.

However, at the end of the screening process of Zanzibar's presidential contestants, the name of Abeid Amani Karume was picked.

Karume was elected president of Zanzibar in the polls, leaving scars that were more felt during the year 2001, whereby some members and supporters of the opposition CUF lost their lives after they were attacked by state organs.

However, protests that took place on January 27, 2001, contributed to the signing of the second agreement on the restoration of peace and tranquillity in Zanzibar between CUF and CCM.

Tomorrow, we are going to focus on attempts by Dr Salmin to amend Zanzibar's Constitution so that he could seek reelection for the third five year presidential term.

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