An important conference of some 200 members of the CCM Central and National Executive Committees was held in March, symbolically in Butiama, the home village of the nation’s founding father Julius Nyerere. There were two main items on the agenda – firstly, what to do next in terms of disciplinary action or prosecution of those accused of corruption and secondly, what to do next in Zanzibar after almost two years of detailed negotiations led by the Secretaries General of the CCM and the leading opposition party in Zanzibar, the Civic United Front (CUF), to resolve the ongoing political differences in the Isles.
Hopes in Zanzibar, especially in Pemba which supports CUF overwhelmingly, were high because it had been widely reported that a power sharing agreement (Muafaka) had been finally reached and only needed ratification by CCM’s Central Committee. After what was reported as having been an acrimonious six-hour meeting however it became apparent that elements of the CCM party in Zanzibar, including apparently President Karume of Zanzibar, were not prepared to accept power-sharing with the opposition. The CCM declared that before such an arrangement could be concluded there would have to be a referendum in which the people of Zanzibar would be able to vote for or against such a proposal.
This caused astonishment and anger amongst the opposition parties whose MP’s walked out of the National Assembly meeting in Dodoma and later organised a massive and peaceful protest demonstration in Zanzibar. Much of the national media was also critical of the CCM. The Citizen wrote: ‘The politicians may have their differences but the people still want them to work together in the interests of Zanzibar.’
At the time of going to press CUF announced that it was ruling out any further dialogue with CCM on the dispute but CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, John Chiligati said that it was wrong for CUF to claim that CCM had scuttled the Muafaka. He said: “CUF will march until they get sore feet but their attempts to break off negotiation with CCM will not help them.” Muafaka could not be reached by negotiation teams without the approval of the party leadership. He said the teams merely prepared recommendations. “After CUF gets tired of demonstrating they will return to the table” – Nipashe.
Mwananchi has reported that as people were celebrating the 44th anniversary of the 1964 Revolution in Zanzibar some had begun to ask questions as to what it had really involved. They wanted to apologise for what they did. One of them, Ali Omar Juma (aka Lumumba). declared that he had nightmares remembering how innocent people were hacked, their houses raided and their property robbed. He said the basic aim was to liberate the country, but some of those who joined the crowd had ulterior motives which were ‘inhuman and cruel’.
Deputy Secretary General of CUF (Zanzibar), Juma Duni Haji was later quoted as saying in Nipashe that the 2010 elections would be marred by violence if the Muafaka was not implemented. Speaking at the University of Dar es Salaam on occasion of the 44th year of the Union, Duni said President Kikwete knew full well that without a coalition government there would be no free and fair elections in the island. Talking about the ‘marginalisation’ of opposition supporting Pemba island Pemba, Duni said that of the 15 Zanzibar ministers only one came from Pemba, there was one deputy Minister and only two permanent secretaries.