On the day (June 10, 1999) that the media of the world were trumpeting the end of the war in the Balkans and the signing of a peace treaty, the beginning of week-long celebrations surrounding another peace treaty went virtually unnoticed in the world outside. After 1,225 days of political impasse in Zanzibar, an agreement, put together by Commonwealth Secretary General Chief Anyaoku and his negotiator Dr Moses Anafu after four years of effort, was signed between representatives of the combative political parties in the Isles -Mr Khatib Hassan, a member of the National Executive Committee for the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and Mr Shabaan Mloo, Secretary General of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) for his party.
Special prayers were read at the ceremony in the House of Representatives and seven white pigeons were released. A multitude of guests attended a dinner in the evening and heard President Amour say: “I can now welcome to State House my old friend Maalim Seif (a term of affection for Seif Shariff Hamad, the CUF leader) for a bottle of soda, a cup of coffee or even haluwa. In a convivial atmosphere he added “You and I understand each other, CCM and CUF understand each other, let us build the nation patriotically”.
Chief Anyaoku, who was given honorary Zanzibar citizenship said in his speech that Zanzibar was now ‘the real pearl of Africa’. He pointed out that the whole object of the agreement was about both parties putting the past behind them.
THE AGREEMENT (Abbreviated)
The CCM and CUF realise that there is a POLITICAL IMPASSE in Zanzibar. They also realise that if the impasse is allowed to continue it will exacerbate social divisions, retard the orderly socio-economic development of Zanzibar and undermine its nascent democracy. CCM and CUF have therefore agreed to work together in the spirit of national reconciliation to consolidate democracy in Zanzibar, promote human rights and good governance and ensure that future elections are free of controversy and that the will of the electorate will be respected.
The ZANZIBAR ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ZEC) is to be reformed before the elections in 2000, taking into account the now accepted practice in other parts of the Commonwealth. To ensure the independence of the ZEC from both the government of the day and the political parties, such independence is to be guaranteed by appropriate constitutional and legal protection and the provision of adequate financial resources. The technical competence of the ZEC is to be enhanced through the establishment of a Secretariat of properly qualified staff. The ZEC will institute a formal mechanism for regular consultations with representatives of all registered political parties and other players involved in the electoral process through:
– the compilation of a credible register of voters;
– a sustained programme of voter and civic education;
– a review of the Constitution and the Electoral Laws to enhance
harmonisation with the requirements of a modern, multi-party democracy;
The parties agree that the promotion of human rights and good governance
in Zanzibar is to include:
-equitable access to the publicly owned MEDIA for all political parties; the
media to be encouraged to give balanced coverage to the legitimate political
activities of all political parties;
-free political activity within the law
The JUDICIARY of Zanzibar is to be reformed to enhance its independence, its professionalism and its standing in the eyes of the community as the fount of justice. The exercise should involve consultations between the Government, the judiciary itself and the legislature.
Since the elections of October 1995, there have been allegations and counter allegations of abuses of HUMAN RIGHTS, of properties damaged or destroyed for political reasons, of civil servants demoted or dismissed on political grounds and of students denied scholarships. Accordingly, the President will appoint an INDEPENDENT ASSESSOR to establish the validity of the claims of those who allege that their properties were destroyed or damaged and make recommendations on the nature and scope of Government assistance to those deserving assistance. The President will also appoint a small COMMITTEE OF RETIRED SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS to look into the claims of civil servants arbitrarily dismissed or demoted and students whose scholarships were either withheld or denied and recommend appropriate redress. In the case of the allegations about human rights abuses, the parties agree that these matters properly belong to the courts of law. To facilitate the expeditious resolution of all these claims, the Government has agreed to establish a FUND FOR RECONCILIATION AND RECONSTRUCTION within an appropriate Ministry.
The parties agree that the ending ofthe impasse calls for the RESUMPTION OF NORMAL POLITICAL LIFE. Accordingly, the CUF MP’s will resume their seats in the House. The parties also agree to refrain from inciting ethnic hatred, hostility and political intolerance. For his part, and in the same spirit, the President has agreed to appoint two new members into the House of Representatives from the ranks of CUF. This will increase CUF numbers to 30; CCM has 45 MP’s in the House of Representatives.
The parties agree to the establishment of an INTER-PARTY COMMITTEE (IPC) composed of CCM and CUF MP’s. It will have no constitutional or legal status but will play a useful role in NATIONAL RECONCILIATION through the promotion of dialogue and the fostering of mutual confidence between the parties. The IPC will facilitate the implementation of this Agreement.
Zanzibar has already begun to reap the benefits of the agreement. Donor agencies, most of which had stopped aid to Zanzibar because of doubts about the fairness of the last elections and allegations of human rights violations, indicated that they would soon resume aid. Tanzania and Zanzibar have received congratulations from many countries. OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim saluted the high standard of political maturity shown by leaders of both sides in the dispute. US Ambassador Rev. Charles Stith visited President Amour to congratulate him on his leadership and political courage. On May 19 Sweden announced that it would be resuming aid but Norway said that it would resume aid to Zanzibar only after the 2000 elections and if they were free and fair and if the 18 treason suspects (see below) were treated fairly.
Many, inside and outside Tanzania were disappointed that there was no reference in the agreement to the Treason Trial of 18 leading CUF personalities who have been in jail for over 20 months (see earlier editions of Tanzanian Affairs). There was some speculation however, that President Amour might release them as he has authority under the constitution to do so. Amnesty International in its report covering September 1998 to March 1999 described the charges as ‘fabricated’ and said that the trial might not begin for several months
Political analysts have been trying to work out what had made the two leaders Amour and Hamad finally embrace after such a long and bitter confrontation. Both parties have gained something. CCM is happy that CUF finally recognises Dr Amour as President of Zanzibar and has ceased its boycott of the House of Representatives. CUF is happy about the proposed reform of the much criticised Electoral Commission and the Judiciary. The agreement lacks a precise timetable for the various actions proposed and much goodwill will be needed if it is to be implemented successfully. The approach of the next elections was certainly one factor favouring agreement especially as CUF needed a reformed Electoral Commission if it were to have a chance. CCM has gained in confidence that it will win again. There has been also continuous pressure from donors.