There has been some optimism in Zanzibar during recent weeks as the Secretaries General of both the ruling CCM (Philip Mang’ula) and opposition CUF (Seif Hamad) have conducted lengthy negotiations to try and resolve their many differences (TA No. 69). The negotiations were said to be taking place in secret in a Dar es Salaam Hotel. But, as this issue of TA went to press, no agreement had been signed and both parties were divided on how many concessions they could make in the interests of peace.

According to The Express the secret negotiations revolved around a number of controversial issues raised by CUF in the wake of the October elections in which CCM emerged the winner and CUF refused to accept the results and accused CCM of fraud. The main issues were believed to be CUF’ s demand for fresh elections, an independent Electoral Commission and a Commission of Inquiry to probe the tragic killings of 26th and 27th January (TA No. 69). But, according to The Express, going by the oft-repeated pronouncements of some top leaders in both camps, neither party was going to soften its stance on the issue of elections. As far as CCM was concerned the 2000 elections were now history, and therefore the presidency of Aman Abeid Karume was a non-negotiable matter. On the other hand, CUF’s uncompromising position was that they could not go for anything short of a repeat of the whole election exercise throughout Zanzibar. They had adamantly refused to recognize Karume as President; the rest of the opposition parties had thrown their weight behind CUF. Some political commentators thought that, as in the case of the problems which erupted in the wake of the 1995 elections, this issue would be resolved by time.

CUF National Chairman, Professor Ibrahim Lipumba, told his members in Zanzibar, and later, journalists in Dar es Salaam, that his party was dissatisfied with the pace of the CCM -CUF talks. He gave July 31 as a deadline for CUF’s continued participation, but, after a peaceful CUF rally in Pemba on July 22, this was later extended to the end of August. He said CUF had come to question CCM’s sincerity and suspected that the latter was taking part in the negotiations merely in order to impress the donor community.

The Zanzibar President had earlier warned the donor community against ‘interfering’ in the internal affairs of Zanzibar and accused them of colluding with CUF to enforce a re-run of the elections. “But” according to Mtanzania “we’re not going to give in,” he said. When President Karume was in London in May some Zanzibari’s organised a demonstration against him. He was reported in Mtanzania as having said that he was too busy to meet them.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called for support for Juma Duni Haji and another CUF leader in Zanzibar who have been charged with murdering a policeman in Pemba during the disturbances in January. The prosecution said that the trial should take place in Pemba. The Attorney-General was reported to have told the court that the accused had no case to answer but the police said that they had the evidence. The defence said that the prosecution was delaying matters so as to continue keeping the accused in jail.

Swedish Ambassador Sten Ryland was quoted as saying that his country would give swift financial support to Zanzibar’s health and education sectors, as well as funds for rehabilitation of Zanzibar’s rich historical buildings, as soon as CCM and CUF struck a deal.

As this issue of TA goes to press CUF leaders Lipumba and Hamad have been asking their members to be patient so as to give more time for the negotiations. Hard-liners were reported to be very dissatisfied by the lack of progress in the talks. Many had been highly critical of the delay in concluding the talks and with signs that the CUF leadership might be prepared to compromise. The CCM side was also said to be divided on how far to go to appease CUF.

On July 19 the police said that they had seized anti-aircraft and demolition firearms on the island of Tumbatu.

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