Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein
Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein will not step down and the re-run poll scheduled for March 20, this year will go on with or without the Civic United Front party (CUF), the Minister for State (Second Vice-President’s Office), Mohammed Aboud assured the Zanzibaris yesterday.

Speaking to ‘The Guardian’ reacting to the challenge on Sunday by the former Zanzibar Attorney General, Othman Masoud Othman to the Isles President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein to step down and hand over power to the Chief Justice to avoid plunging the country into further crisis, Aboud said Shein will stay put until after the poll re-run.

“The president will only step down after the
election re-run and that will only happen if he loses in the race,” he maintained.

According to Aboud, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairman, Jecha Salim Jecha acted within the law to nullify the last year’s presidential election and to announce the election re-run.

The nullification was bitterly contested by the opposition CUF which has since maintained that its candidate, Seif Shariff Hamad won the October 25 poll but was robbed of victory by Jecha’s “unilateral” announcement.
The minister said that ZEC’s decision should be respected by all, challenging CUF that it was free to take part in the re-run poll or not. Last week, Jecha announced Zanzibar’s election re-run date to be March 20, this year.

In his Sunday comment, Othman asserted that the Zanzibar Second Vice President, Seif Ali Iddi, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pandu Ameir Kificho did not deserve to continue with their positions since Zanzibar lacks a valid House of Representatives.

He was speaking in Dar es Salaam during a forum to discuss legal challenges that emerged during the General Election in both Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

He said the nullification of the Isles presidential results was the conspiracy of the highest order.

Othman who was among the key speakers said once the President is out, the Chief Justice should form a committee to investigate whether the election results in Zanzibar were legally cancelled and if not authorities should continue with tallying and announcement of the winner.

“It is the committee responsibility to say if the decision was right or wrong…if proven legally right then Zanzibar should go for re-election, ”he said insisting that Zanzibar political standoff will never end if the President continues to executive his duties.

The former AG noted that it is wrong for the government to maintain silence over the matter while knowing the situation might result into mayhem.
He said the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) was to consider what the law says before cancelling the results.

“Isles election results were cancelled by ZEC Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha without even involving his fellow members,” he said noting even the sections of the Election Law that he used to justify the nullification of results did not give him powers to do so.

The advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and Zanzibar, Fatma Karume who was speaking on the position of ZEC and the Union’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) in last year’s elections insisted on the need for free and fair electoral body.

According to her the electoral bodies are not free. She said even the country’s judiciary system is not free and fair since the heads of the institutions are presidential appointees.

Karume suggested that the chairman of the electoral body and the Chief Justice should be appointed by the committee. She said: “The decision of voters will only be respected when ZEC and the judiciary will be independent”.

The CUF party acting Public Communications Director, Ismail Jussa Ladhu said the issue in Zanzibar is likely to weaken the Union. He said the matter has been left to Isles residents as leaders from Tanzania mainland are not paying any attention to it.

“Our stand on the matter remains…we are in quandary as we don’t understand whether ZEC cancelled announcement of the results or the election,” he said.

Speaking on the legal challenges of the last legal year’s General Election, Harold Sungusia said the whole process was characterised with challenges including poor preparations.

“Article 14 of the Constitution bars top officials of the electoral body from being members of any political party....it is very obvious that such personnel were affiliated to a certain political party,” he said.


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