In Zanzibar Aman Abeid Karume (CCM) was declared to be the new President and CCM won a two thirds majority in the House of Assembly but the election was seriously flawed and had to be held again in 16 constituencies in the Urban West region on November 5. The results have been rejected by all the ten opposition parties which took part. The leading opposition party, CUF, refused to recognise the government and its MP’s decided to boycott the National Assembly and the Zanzibar House of Assembly in protest.
A PERSONAL DIARY. Part 2. Zanzibar. by editor David Brewin
Saturday October 27.
1O.00am. Final election rallies: The CCM rally is a sea of yellow. More than 50% of the big crowd are dressed in CCM yellow caps, green and yellow t-shirts with portraits of the presidential candidate. Picnic atmosphere. People are enjoying themselves -chatting, shopping at scores of small stalls, singing, dancing, playing drums. Less than 25% are listening to the speeches. No police in sight. The CUF rally is quite different. A quiet, disciplined and serious crowd listening to the speakers -CUF Zanzibar leader Seif Shariff Hamad speaks then Lipumba at his penultimate rally -he is flying to Dar es Salaam this afternoon. Armed police are stationed every 10 yards around two sides of the meeting and chivvying people on the periphery who are standing or sitting where the police feel they should not be.
Sunday October 29. Election day
8.30am. Mjimkongwe, Stonetown, a CUF stronghold. Two long queues of voters. Women approach the polling station from one side; men from the other. We immediately see two young men being beaten with batons and then taken away by the police. We are told that they had been wearing CUF badges. On the other side of the school we see a man being chased by police dressed in sailor style uniforms. When he falls down he is severely kicked before being whisked away. Assuming that I am an observer, angry CUF women crowd around us and point out three small groups of about a dozen young girls all holding voting certificates. “These are not Zanzibaris” they say. “Look at the colour of their skin, the clothes they are wearing”. They are dressed in shabby shirts and trousers in contrast to what we are told are the real Zanzibar women who all seem to be immaculately dressed most with their heads covered. The girls refuse to talk. Their leader tells them not to. They look very uncomfortable. The leader is asked where she lives. “Over there” she says pointing to a house. “Oh no you don’t” says an angry CUF man. I know everyone in that house”. We move away and the police move in to question the people who have just been talking to us. In a very intimidating situation, with the help of my press pass, I squeeze through the crowd and into the polling station. I exchange a few words with the Returning Officer and then see a large space on a bench and move to sit down. The Returning Officer indicates that that is where the electoral list is held and I am not allowed to sit there. Six party political monitors squeeze more closely together on their bench and invite me to join them. The Returning Officer starts his speech prior to opening the polling station. He translates part of it into English for my benefit. A nervous CUF monitor says that he is not happy about some of the people standing in the queue waiting to vote. The Returning Officer, who gives every indication that he is going to run his operation with military precision, replies: “I am in charge here. My decision on who can and who cannot vote is final. If you want to object you know the procedure. You can make your objections in writing later”. One of the CUF monitors leaves. Voting begins. Outside a crowd is pushing against the gate to try and enter. A middle aged Arab is pushed through and is heavily hit on the head by a policewoman’s baton. People in the crowd tell us that another man has just been arrested by the police and put in the boot of a saloon car. He had had to be turned round because his head didn’t fit in properly before the lid was slammed down. The police car had then driven away (About 150 people were
arrested during election day).
1O.15am Mlandege Polling Station (Darajani Primary School).
Voting is proceeding in an orderly way. I am told that some people from the mainland had come and tried to vote but they had been chased away.
11.20am Jangombe Polling Station. Very long queues. Voting has not yet started because there are no ballot papers and forms. I ask the Returning Officer if I may speak to the party agents. “You can ask me questions. You can’t do anything else”. After one or two I say that I have no more questions. He says “Then get out”. This seems reasonable under the circumstances.
11.45am. Kwahani Primary School. Just after we arrive we hear loud applause from hundreds of waiting voters. Voting has not started but a truck has just arrived with the missing documents Then the delivery man reveals that he hasn’t brought ballot boxes for the two presidential elections nor the ink to mark voter’s fingers. Angry reaction. Voting can’t start. CCM monitor points out that voting must close at 5.00pm. Loud dissent from almost everyone. But people soon become calm again and accept what has happened (During the whole day the calm and patience of the voters was remarkable to witness).
12.15pm. Mikunguni. Voting has just started. Ballot boxes are being sealed, in the presence of party monitors with the help of lighted candles. By chance the Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, Mr. Abdulrahman Jumbe Mwinyi is present. I ask him about the delays. “Inefficiency” he replies. One or two members of his staff had got things wrong. “And that is the only reason for the delay” he adds before he moves on.
1.00pm. Amani Stadium. Voting had started early and everything is in good order.
1.45pm. Jimbo la Kikwajuni.(Kisiwa Primary School). Voting proceeding slowly. Many have been waiting seven hours. 4.45pm. I pay a visit to the ZEC headquarters to find out how the election is going generally. As I arrive CCM presidential candidate Karume with a retinue of top CCM people is leaving.
7:30pm. Bububu polling station, about 8 kms from town. Pitch dark. Voting has not yet started. Scores of unhappy people surround me assuming that I am a foreign observer and I will do something. Heavily shielded and armed police everywhere but I am not impeded after showing my press card.
8.00pm -a puncture! A Monitor from the TADEA party helps us with his powerful torch to change the wheel.
8.30 pm Jangombe polling station. Pitch dark. A large number of people. I speak at length to a young civil servant here to do his duty and supervise one classroom where voting should have taken place. He is eager to hear what is happening elsewhere. He has received no instructions all day and people have been blaming him for not letting them vote. He has told them that he also is hungry, thirsty and tired. The people accept what he says. In spite of the darkness I feel remarkably safe. Hundreds of people around the polling station are still hoping to vote.
9pm Raha Leo. Voting completed. Am told that counting of votes had started and CUF was reported to have been in the lead but counting had then suddenly stopped on instructions from ZEC. Voters had been instructed to leave. Only the Returning Officer and party monitors were left, in accordance with the rules. In one badly lit classroom there is a heated argument about ballot box seals. CUF monitor wants to seal the boxes with the seals he has in his hand. CCM monitor is friendly. Maybe my presence persuades him to stop objecting. He tells CUF man to go ahead and place his seals on the five ballot boxes -one each for the presidency of Tanzania, the presidency of Zanzibar, the Tanzanian National Assembly, the Zanzibar House of Assembly and one for local councillors. As he moves over to seal them he is stopped by the Returning Officer. “No” he said. “Not now. Maybe later”
9:30pm. Meet an American observer who said he has seen plenty of examples of bad administration but no actual rigging. He had witnessed the opening of some ballot boxes in Stonetown (a CUF stronghold) and had noted that there were about 200 votes for CUF and 50 for CCM. Then the counting had been stopped.
9.45pm. Another journalist tells me that the German Swahili radio service ‘Deutsche Welle’ had managed to interview one of the voters said not to be from Zanzibar. This voter was said to have explained that they had been brought over from Dar es Salaam the night before.
10.00pm We notice two long lines of teenage boys near another polling station in Stonetown. I ask them what they’re waiting for. They refuse to speak. I ask the policeman who is with them and he explains that they are security guards for the Zantel office. They look very young and very numerous for such a job. My companion wants to ask more questions because he thinks that they are villagers brought in from the countryside to vote. I notice armed marine police rapidly descending upon us and not looking friendly. We leave very hurriedly.
Monday. October 30. The day after.
8.00am. Go to the port to buy a ticket for my planned return to Dar es Salaam in the afternoon. Hear that the election has been annulled by ZEC in 16 constituencies (in Zanzibar town and the West coast). Three of these seats were won by CUF in 1995.
10.00am Attend a packed CUF press conference at Bwawani Hotel. CUF leader Hamad says that the election has been a complete mess and should be run again in its entirety. It would take three to six months to organise. The Field Force had taken ballot boxes away and nobody knew where they were. ZEC was responsible for the chaos. Zanzibar needed a provisional government consisting of respected people to conduct new elections. “If ZEC ignores us, as usual, they will bear responsibility for what then happens. It will prove that the ZEC is working with the CCM . Yesterday ZEC had claimed that they had nullified the results in two whole districts because of irregularities. In fact CCM had told ZEC to close the counting because CCM was losing. There had been irregularities everywhere. In Kanyageni the Field Force had confiscated all ballot boxes by force. At Mjimkongwe they had brought people from all over to vote. At Bububu they tried to bring ballot boxes from elsewhere. “Did you meet ZEC and complain?” he was asked. “My manager went five times but could get no meaningful answers”. If the Commonwealth Agreement (on reform of the ZEC) had been implemented we would not be in this position he concluded.
11.15 am. On advice from the local BBC correspondent all the journalists move off to the Serena Hotel to receive a press release from the Commonwealth observers.
11.30am I suggest that we go to the CCM HQ to hear what they have to say but we do not reach their office. On the main street we see people scattering in every direction. Police beating people up. The police suddenly jump out of their truck and start shooting. (They were shooting in the air although that wasn’t apparent at the time). I am heard telling the driver to turn round fast and saying that I don’t want to die in Zanzibar. Shops close. People disappear. Have to cancel a lunch engagement.
6.30pm Arrive in Dar es Salaam. Am trying to separate gossip and rumour from the truth but one persistent rumour is that perhaps the President of Zanzibar, Dr Salmin Amour (who was not allowed to run for a third term and his favoured candidate to succeed him was not selected) might have been the cause of the problems in Zanzibar. It is announced that all parties except CCM have decided to boycott the second election in the 16 constituencies in Zanzibar. CCM supporters insist that the violence was not all on one side. “CUF started throwing stones before the police started firing” one pointed out. A new CCM Councillor tells me that, after attending a rally in Dar es Salaam, his car windscreen had been broken. But CUF had paid for the damage!
Sunday 5th November
Evening. A documentary lasting two hours on TV features the respected editor Jenerali Ulimwengu, Dar es Salaam University Professor Samuel Mushi and Dr Lauran N dumbaru from Zanzibar talking about the Zanzibar elections. The programme has as its background remarkable scenes of the beating up of people prior to the shooting in the air (which I had witnessed). The video showed that, as CUF’s Seif Hamad had left his press conference, his supporters had started celebrating on the main street Darajani. “We’ve won. We’ve won” they were shouting. Smiles all round. Like a fiesta. The police had responded angrily and started beating people. Some people had reacted by throwing stones. Police anger had increased. Some, including an old lady, who had fled into a nearby shop, were dragged out and beaten again. Nobody resisted. Most could be seen to have their hands in the air in surrender. One policeman had vented his anger by stamping heavily on a bicycle. Extracts from the discussion: “This is a shock…. Shameful … Where are we going? Not understandable. Violence even when people are lying down! The police did nothing to stop cameramen taking the pictures! CUP have been complaining for long about human rights abuses; this justifies their claims …. Who will look after the ballot boxes for the next week? .. Zanzibar is being destroyed” -DRB.
WHAT THE FOREIGN OBSERVERS SAID
Dr Gaositwe Chiepe, former Botswana Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Commonwealth Monitoring Group. “We wish to record our sadness and deep disappointment at the way in which so many voters were treated by the ZEC … in many places this election was a shambles. The cause is either massive incompetence or a deliberate attempt to wreck at least part of this election. Either way the outcome represents a colossal contempt for ordinary Zanzibar people and their aspirations for democracy … in some places the voting went well and staff were often efficient and dedicated. But the scale of the organisational failure is such as to totally cancel out these positive factors …. the Zanzibar elections should be held again in their entirety. But first the existing election management machinery must be reformed from top to bottom … “. What had happened in Zanzibar was a travesty of democracy. The failure of the ZEC had erased all the good things the international community had seen. Just before departure she added: ‘We were confirmed in our view that elections should be held again by the way in which the suspension of elections in the 16 constituencies was implemented. It suggests that there may be even greater cause for concern”.
Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Team Leader Dr Alex Ekwueme praised the conduct of the mainland election but said that it was a matter of deep regret that, notwithstanding the assurances given, the ZEC was unable or unwilling to conduct the elections in Zanzibar in an efficient manner …. the counting process was sometimes interfered with by ZEC officials and by some ruling party cadres. The political crisis into which the ZEC had thrown Zanzibar was totally unnecessary and could have been avoided …. The observer team regrets that it is unable to endorse the Zanzibar elections as having been free and representative of popular opinion ….. ”
SADC mission chairman Geoff Doidge said that the ZEC’s capacity to organise the elections fell far short of expectations. Given the comparatively small size of Zanzibar it was difficult to believe such problems were purely technical … all parties should urgently meet to agree on fresh elections under a reconstituted ZEC. There had also been unequal access by opposition parties to the media and other resources.
Laurie Cooper, International Foundation for Election Systems, Washington DC: “The Zanzibar elections squandered the opportunity to advance Zanzibar’s transition to democracy. The ZEC’s suspension of the election operations compromised the integrity of the election process archipelago wide ….. the removal of ballot boxes from the voting stations … in Jangombe, Amani, Sogea, Wawi and other stations without the full participation of poll workers, party agents, candidates appeared to have been hastily implemented and ill-conceived. The 14member delegation is of the opinion that these elections did not merit the trust of Zanzibar’s citizens … new elections in all constituencies properly conducted could address the volatile situation …. the delegation notes with deep regret the actions of the security forces …. ” .
ZANZIBAR PRESIDENCY: Karume 67% Hamad 33%
ZANZIBAR HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY (50 elected seats):
CCM took 28 seats in Unguja and 6 in Pemba (compared with none last time) = 34 elected MP’s plus six special seats for women, plus five regional commissioners plus the Attorney General -Total 46 seats.
CUF got 17 elected seats compared with 24 in 1995. (These figures may not be exactly right but will be corrected in the next issue of TA if necessary -Editor).
The CUF boycott was fully supported as illustrated by some of the results of the election for National Assembly MP’s this year compared with those of 1995. In Kikwajuni CCM scored 2,448 votes in 1995 and 6,101 in this election. CUF’s vote fell dramatically from 1,985 in 1995 to 212 in 2000. In Jangombe CCM had 9,947 votes in 1995 and 7,321 this year. CUF fell from 4,461 in 1995 to 293 this year.
EFFORTS TOWARDS RECONCILIATION
President Karume (52) is widely regarded as a conciliator and he lost no time in taking several steps to ease the tension in the Isles.
First of all he had a ‘clean sweep’ in selecting his new 12member cabinet (reduced from 14 for reasons of economy). He appointed as Chief Minister Mr Shansi Vuai Nahoda (38) former TV producer and information officer. The cabinet includes one woman but does not include a single one of the ministers who served under previous President Amour. It also includes three ministers from Pemba (previously none). Of the four new Deputy ministers none were in Amour’s cabinet.
The President made a further important move towards reconciliation by freeing the 18 CUF leaders who have languished in jail for three years charged with treason and another in releasing the 150 people who were arrested during the election. It was decided not to continue with the treason trial as treason could not be committed in Zanzibar because it was not a sovereign state. Many wondered why it had taken three years to find this out.
On December 1 an apparently more friendly attitude to the press was reported in the Guardian. The government had apologised to various journalists who had been barred from the swearing in of President Karume. It had been due to ‘lack of proper communication between the authority and security guards’ it said.
Influential former President Mwinyi, quoted in the Guardian on November 26, said that Zanzibaris should try to form a coalition government as had been proposed by Mwalimu Nyerere after the 1995 elections. But he thought that it would be very difficult because CUF refused to recognise the President who had won by a two-thirds majority. He hoped to help to bring about a rapport in Zanzibar
In his first speech to the new Parliament in Dodoma President Mkapa said that in the next two months the Union and Zanzibar governments would start resolving some of the issues undermining the smooth operations of the Union. He welcomed views from within and outside the country. All people should respect the peoples’ verdict, stop bickering and get down to work.
The famous astrologer Shekh Yahaya Hussein was reported in the Guardian to have forecast a government of national union in Zanzibar within 14 months.
WHAT WILL THE DONORS DO?
Most Western donors stopped providing aid to Zanzibar during the last five years because of concerns about the 1995 elections and subsequent allegations of infringement of human rights in the isles. After this second irregularity-filled election what could they do? Cutting aid to Zanzibar did not seem to have been successful. Those who suffered most were the poorest sections of the population. With their constant stress on good governance and democracy however, would the donors not be accused of bias if, while enforcing sanctions against other countries, they left Tanzania alone? However, why should the 30 million mainlanders (compared with only 800,000 Zanzibaris) be punished when the conduct of the mainland election received widespread praise from international observers?
For the Commonwealth, which had strived for two years to bring about an agreement between the warring sides and had finally obtained the signatures of CCM and CUF leaders to an accord in 1999 (under which the ZEC would be reformed), what happened must have been a great disappointment. Zanzibar’s CCM refused earlier this year to implement the reform of the ZEC in spite of repeated pleas from Commonwealth representatives.
The new American administration also faces a dilemma. CCM represents continuity and stability. A CUF government in Zanzibar would be likely to be less enthusiastic about preservation of the Tanzanian Union and would probably cultivate closer relations with Arab countries some of which face serious conflicts with Muslim fundamentalism.
Prime Minister Tony Blair congratulated President Mkapa on his election but said he had been disappointed with the events in Zanzibar.
WHAT WILL THE OPPOSITION DO?
CUF now faces a major dilemma. Well before the election its leader, Seif Shariff Hamad, recalling the probability that CCM rigged the 1995 election in its favour, stated that, if CCM ‘fixed’ the election again (his words) the result would be ‘a tooth for a tooth’. Immediately following the election CUF warned that if there were no new elections within four months under a reformed ZEC Zanzibar would enjoy no peace. During the following few days five small home-made bombs were detonated. One damaged the government-run Wete (Pemba) Hotel, another went off near a polling station and another seriously injured a member of the Electoral Commission. CUF denied responsibility. Tanzania has substantially increased its police force and army in Zanzibar and should be able to control the situation.
If tensions were to continue however, the Union between the mainland and Zanzibar could itself be in danger. Many mainlanders are already weary of and embarrassed by the seemingly endless feud between those Black Africans in Zanzibar who were in favour of the 1964 revolution who tend to support CCM and those, many of whom have Arab roots, who were not in favour and now support CUF. If the animosity were to be turned into more violence the people of the mainland might want to reconsider their participation in the Union. One analyst suggested that Zanzibar needs a South African style ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’. Others consider that the best solution would be to ask the UN to conduct a truly free and fair election in the Isles.
THE GOVERNMENT’S POSITION
President Benjamin Mkapa, fresh from his huge election victory, has made it clear that he resents foreign interference in Tanzanian internal affairs. He took a strongly anti-CUF position before the elections in Zanzibar and after the elections even praised the police. He did however agree to launch an enquiry into what happened.
According to CCM the irregularities (and all agree that there were many) were caused by sabotage from CUF members who had managed to infiltrate the CCM government-appointed ZEC, to remove a vehicle containing election materials and thus prevent the election taking place in a number of constituencies. CCM pointed out that several people had been arrested for removing a ZEC vehicle during election day.
CCM Deputy Secretary General Seif Iddi was quoted in the press as saying it had been a CUF conspiracy and an act of sabotage. President Karume was said to have been very angry about this but CUF’s Seif Shariff Hamad had looked happy at the turn of events.
“LET’S FORGET IT”
For CCM and perhaps the majority of the population of Tanzania there is a desire for the Zanzibar election to be forgotten. Tanzania should be left alone to get on with its development. This may well happen.
Tanzanians in general greatly enjoyed and were probably relieved by the American election debacle which took place at about the same time. So many of the phrases used to describe the Zanzibar election were soon being used in the debate on the Florida election such as -fraud, lost ballot boxes, miscounting of votes, stopping counting, uncertainty as to who had won …..