Zanzibar president declared winner as election boycotted - Daily Nation

Zanzibar president declared winner as election boycotted

Tuesday March 22 2016

Election officials count votes in Zanzibar at the weekend. Mr Shein won just over 91 per cent of the vote, according to Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman Jecha Salim Jecha. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Election officials count votes in Zanzibar at the weekend. Mr Shein won just over 91 per cent of the vote, according to Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman Jecha Salim Jecha. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AFP
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ZANZIBAR

Election officials in Zanzibar on Monday declared incumbent President Ali Mohamed Shein the winner of a weekend poll in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous islands.

Shein, of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, welcomed the announcement, a day after the presidential and legislative vote which was boycotted by the opposition.

“I am prepared to serve Zanzibaris for another five years. Let’s work together,” said Mr Shein, who has been in power since 2010 and is due to be sworn in again on Thursday.

Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections were a re-run of October polls that were cancelled by the ZEC over fraud allegations.

Mr Shein won just over 91 per cent of the vote, according to Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman Jecha Salim Jecha.

Mr Shein won 299,982 votes against just 6,076 — or 1.9 per cent — for his main rival Seif Sharif Hamad of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), which boycotted the poll.

Hamad was first vice president in the unity government that ruled Zanzibar from 2010 but said he would not participate in any future administration.

Almost 68 per cent of Zanzibar’s 503,000 registered voters turned out on Sunday, according to the ZEC.

Most polling stations opened on time at 7:00 am (0400 GMT), with voters lining up peacefully but turnout was expected to be low in opposition strongholds after the Civic United Front (CUF) urged its supporters not to participate.

“I am happy to vote again. We will record a landslide victory,” said Amina Hassan, a supporter of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party which backs the re-run.

NO CHALLENGERS

But opposition member Yussuf Juma dismissed the election as a sham. “It is a waste of time and resources to vote again. We listened to our leaders not to vote and we have decided to stay away,” he said.

Mr Shein was among the first to cast a vote in Stone Town, the historic centre of the capital Zanzibar City.

“I am happy to have exercised my democratic right,” Mr Shein said. “It is wrong for the opposition to boycott, but it is their freedom to do so.”

The ZEC said there had been no delays in the delivery of ballot boxes and papers and said both local and African observers were in place, although those from the EU had stayed away.

The annulment of October’s presidential and legislative elections in Zanzibar came after opposition CUF candidate Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself the winner before results were officially announced.

CUF leaders say the move in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous islands was designed to block their party’s victory and deliver another win for the CCM, which dominates on the Tanzania mainland.

With Hamad boycotting, Shein faces no serious challengers among the dozen other candidates.

Some 500,000 registered voters in Zanzibar were also eligible to cast ballots in the October polls for Tanzania’s national president and, despite the cancelation of the vote on the islands,