Two new political parties have been registered in Zanzibar bringing the total number of parties in Tanzania to 18. They are ‘Solidarity of Force 3’ (SOFT) and ‘SAFINA’. The leaders of both parties originally belonged to CUF before defecting to CCM. Both parties have said that they want to guide Zanzibar to a ‘new beginning’ and that CCM is out of touch.

On July 18 the Swahili press reported that prominent Zanzibar businessman Mohamed Raza, who was Sports Advisor to former CCM Zanzibar President Salmin Amour, had said that the ruling CCM party in the Isles was now split into two groups. He said that one group was currently in power while the other represented those who were previously in power during President Amour’s time. He said the situation was becoming critical and that if elections were held in the islands today the opposition CUF would win. CCM leaders reacted by saying that Raza was ignorant in politics and also on the constitutions of the CCM and of Zanzibar. Deputy CCM Secretary General, Zanzibar, Saleh Ramadhani Feruzi said that Raza had always been an impatient person and denied his allegations that CCM Zanzibar was mistreating former President Amour and that the party was divided. Some observers however began putting two and two together and coming to the conclusion that at least one of the two new parties referred to above might comprise dissident CCM members.

There has been some controversy about the two special (nominated) Zanzibar House of Assembly seats, which, under the constitution, are granted by the Isles presidency, to the opposition. President Karume hesitated for some time before awarding one to CUF but seemed to hold out in the case of the second. Some of the very small parties in Zanzibar had been carrying out a vociferous campaign demanding that they should be awarded the other seat. A decision is awaited.

CUF National Chairman Professor Ibrahim Lipumba was questioned by police for three hours on July 25 as was the party’s Deputy Secretary General, Juma Duni Haji. The questioning was said to be in connection with speeches made at a CUF rally. Duni was quoted as having admitted he received a letter from Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramadhani Kinyogo calling on him to report at Police headquarters in Zanzibar. He said reasons for the summons was not revealed but that he suspected it had something to do with the recent remarks made by Professor Lipumba at the Zanzibar rally. He admitted that remarks annoying to the Government were made at the meeting, adding that they would continue making them. Later the Police said it was satisfied by explanations and answers given by Professor Lipumba but added that should there be any eruption of violence they would take legal measures against him -Mtanzania.

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