New President of Zanzibar Dr Ali Mohamed Shein (CCM) (left) and First Vice President, Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad (CUF), embrace at the start of the Government of National Unity.

The former Vice-President of Tanzania, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein who hails from Pemba, won the Zanzibar presidential election in Zanzibar with 50.1% of the votes. The CUF candidate Seif Shariff Hamad gained 49.1% of the votes. There were four other candidates.

As a result of the agreement entered into before the elections under which there would be a Government of National Unity (GNU) in the Isles after the election, the election itself took place peacefully and without major problems unlike the elections during the previous 15 years.

Some analysts have been trying to explain how it was that the two main parties (CCM and CUF) were able to come to an agreement after their fierce rivalry in the past. The explanation they have given is that CUF finally realised that the CCM would never allow it to rule Zanzibar alone (several CCM leaders made this clear in the past) and, that, if it were to have influence in the development of the country it could only do so in a government of national unity. Similarly, the explanation continued, the CCM realised that it was losing support and risked losing the 2010 election if this was free and fair. The election results, with the difference between the respective party’s votes differing by only one per cent, tend to support this hypothesis.

The Zanzibar Cabinet
The new President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein increased the number of ministers in his cabinet from 13 under the previous President Karume to 19 plus six deputy ministers (compared with five). The Special Seats for women were increased, with eleven allocated to CCM and nine to CUF.

The duties of the new Vice Presidents
Veteran leader in the Isles of the CUF party and a former Chief Minister in a CCM government, Zanzibar`s new First Vice President, Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad, has revealed that his official duties in the GNU will include being first-line advisor to the President and overseeing issues relating to the environment, people with disabilities and the war on drug abuse and HIV/Aids. Maalim Seif also explained that Zanzibar’s seventh phase government was determined to serve the people as diligently and efficiently as humanly possible and that the most important thing was for people to give their all in helping the government to serve them. He wanted to cut red-tape in the public service to the minimum and said he would himself set a good example by reporting for duty at 7.30am each day. He said that Zanzibar would only move forward socially, economically and otherwise “if all people ensure maximum discipline at their various workplaces and if public servants desist from bureaucratic behaviour and practices”.

He hailed the new President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein (who had been Vice-President of Tanzania prior to the elections), for having cooperated with him during the run-up to the formation of the GNU and the cabinet “despite the fact that the constitution allows the president to form the cabinet even without any consultations” – Guardian.

The Second Vice President, Ambassador Seif Ali Idd, will be responsible for government business.

Pemba secessionists give up
One day after President Shein declared his new cabinet the group of 12 elders from Pemba who have been calling for secession of the island from Zanzibar said their demands had been met. Four years ago they submitted a petition to the UN and foreign diplomatic missions in Dar es Salaam, complaining that people of Pemba were denied their basic rights by the governments of Zanzibar and Tanzania. Coordinator of the group, Ali Makame said Zanzibar can now teach democracy to other African countries. He said the Pemba elders were now willing to collaborate with the unity government – Mwananchi.

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