THE IMPLEMENTATION THE MUAFAKA
Implementation of the remarkable Muafaka (agreement) of 10th October 2001 (detailed in TA No. 71) between the then warring CCM and CUF parties continues to proceed fairly well.
The Presidential Commission investigating the disturbances in Pemba in January 2001 has interviewed some 1,400 people and has published its report. The report has criticised the police for killing 30 persons but pointed out that if they had been better equipped they might not have needed to use their rifles against the rioters. (We hope to have more details of the report in our next issue -Editor).
Of all the issues which divided the nation and resulted in the rioting, the composition of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) was considered to be crucial. The Zanzibar Constitution has now been amended and a new Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been appointed with four members who have CCM sympathies and two members nominated by CUF. Members of the new ZEC were sworn in at a ceremony at State House attended by people from all parties.
Another indication of progress in implementation of the agreement has been regular meetings between CCM President Amani Karume and leaders of opposition parties.
Furthermore, an amendment to the 1984 Electoral Law, passed by the House of Representatives on October 2nd, has established a permanent register of voters. It is hoped that this will remove fears expressed by CUF that CCM had been cheating in earlier elections by bringing voters to the islands from the mainland.
But political development rarely goes entirely smoothly in Zanzibar. The Guardian reported on October 3 that the government, against strong CUF objections, had found it fit that community leaders, popularly known Shehas (local leaders regarded by CUF as CCM sympathisers) should continue to co-ordinate the voters’ registration exercise because of their local knowledge. CUP Secretary General Seif Sharrif Hamad later met with President Karume to register his objections to the continued use of Sheha’s.
The Government has also decided that a simple majority, rather than 50% of the voters, should determine the winner in a presidential election race and that the number of constituencies should be reduced, particularly in the CUF stronghold of Pemba. Minister of State in the President’s Office (Constitution and Good Governance) Omar Makungu said that the decision to introduce the simple majority system in determining the winner of a presidential race was aimed at improving multi-party democracy in the Isles. The 50% winning system was adopted during the single-party era. With the introduction of multi-partyism it was imperative for the system to be changed.
It is understood that the Government does not want the new electoral system to be made effective until the 2005 elections but CUF wants its introduction by March 2003 in time for 16 key by-elections in Pemba in constituencies won by CUF in 2000. The 16 former MP’s were expelled from the House of Representatives after they had boycotted proceedings following the disturbances. There is one by-election in Pemba in a seat held by CCM. This arose when Vice-President Shein was chosen by President Mkapa to move to Dar es Salaam to take up his new position. If these by-elections are free and fair, the results will indicate clearly, for the first time since multi-partyism was introduced in Tanzania, whether CUF has the electoral support in the Isles which it has always claimed it has. It believes that it was deprived of victory in the 1995 and 2000 elections.
The Zanzibar government increased the punishment for clove smugglers at the beginning of October. The island’s Minister for Trade said that anyone convicted of smuggling would now be sentenced to 10 years in jail. At the same time clove prices were raised -Majira