DAR ES SALAAM, Dec 6 — Zanzibar’s opposition agreed today to join the ruling party in a unity government on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago, saying it wanted to promote peace despite its criticism of a recent election.
The opposition ACT-Wazalendo party had disputed the results of the October 28 elections on Zanzibar, which has a history of tense votes plagued with violence and irregularities.
“After consultations between the party leaders and members, we agreed to form the government for peace reasons and the greater interest of the nation and our party,” Ado Shaibu, the party’s secretary general said.
“It’s not that we are happy with the government positions but we are doing this to heal the nation. The elections were neither free nor credible but we need to take the country out of crisis,” he said.
On October 28, voters on the archipelago took part in Tanzanian national elections but also voted for their own president and deputies.
The ruling CCM party’s candidate Hussein Mwinyi was declared the winner with 76.27 percent of the vote and designated Zanzibar’s president.
The run-up to the voting on Zanzibar was marked by the mass deployment of police, soldiers and ruling party militiamen called “Zombies”.
Seif Sharif Hamad, local opposition leader for ACT-Wazalendo, was arrested twice, before and after the voting. He accused the police of having shot dead 10 people on the eve of the election.
Apart from the presidency, CCM won 46 of the 50 seats in the local parliament, similar to the crushing victory it recorded on mainland Tanzania.
Incumbent president John Magufuli was re-elected with 84 percent of the vote.
The constitution of Zanzibar calls for the party that wins the elections to form a unity government with the opposition party that obtains at least 10 per cent of the vote. ACT-Wazalendo registered 19.8 percent of the vote. — AFP