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Zanzibar: Will ACT-Wazalendo pull out from GNU impact elections?

Zanzibar Will ACT-Wazalendo pull out from GNU impact elections www.whoownsafrica.com Zanzibar Will ACT-Wazalendo pull out from GNU impact elections www.whoownsafrica.com
ACT Zanzibar Presidential Candidate, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad and party leader Zitto Zubeir Kabwe accompanied by party supporters and members after arriving in Unguja.

Zanzibar has been thrown into political turmoil once again as opposition party ACT-Wazalendo announced its intention to withdraw from the Government of National Unity (GNU).

This decision has raised concerns among authorities and external observers who fear the impact it could have on the upcoming elections in the volatile political hotbed.

The announcement was made on 7 March 2024, with ACT-Wazalendo citing three core issues that remain unaddressed by Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi. These issues include compensation for victims of the 2020 general election, the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations during the elections, and reforms to Zanzibar’s electoral system.

Zanzibar Will ACT-Wazalendo pull out from GNU impact elections www.whoownsafrica.com
Zanzibar’s opposition party ACT-Wazalendo held its first political rally.

Despite being a constitutional requirement, ACT-Wazalendo feels that the promises made before they joined the GNU have not been fulfilled, and they see no reason to continue their stay in the government. This decision has put the remaining strands of the GNU in limbo, pending a meeting between the party’s leadership and Presidents Samia Suluhu Hassan.

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The decision to potentially dissolve the GNU has sparked a variety of viewpoints within the ruling party and the general public.

Ali Mzee Ali, a key figure in the formation of the GNU back in 2010, has expressed caution about the possible consequences of this move, stating that it could result in a regression of progress.

He recalls a similar situation in 2015 when the opposition party refused to join the GNU, leading to a withdrawal of funding from international donors.

Ali emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace and suggests that if the GNU is not functioning effectively, a similar process to its creation should be followed, including a referendum to gauge public opinion.

Amani Karume, the former President of Zanzibar who played a pivotal role in establishing the GNU, also believes that dialogue between the parties is essential to finding a resolution.

The potential dissolution of the GNU has therefore sparked a debate about the best way forward for the government and the country as a whole.

Former president Karume emphasized the importance of dialogue in resolving any issues within the Government of National Unity (GNU), stating that running away from problems is not a solution. He urged leaders to come together and find common ground to maintain the unity and progress that has been achieved.

However, CCM’s Hamis Mbetto threw a wrench into the discussion by stating that the party does not recognize the agreement made before ACT-Wazalendo joined the coalition.

He criticized the demands put forth by ACT-Wazalendo and highlighted that even CCM supporters were affected by the violence during the 2020 elections.

Despite these differing perspectives, the need for dialogue and cooperation to address challenges and move forward as a unified nation was underscored by both sides.

Zanzibar Will ACT-Wazalendo pull out from GNU impact elections www.whoownsafrica.com
ACT Zanzibar Presidential Candidate, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad and party leader Zitto Zubeir Kabwe accompanied by party supporters and members after arriving in Unguja.

The Zanzibar GNU was a product of the political tensions that arose after a heated referendum in August 2010.

The composition of the ZEC commissioners, which was evenly split between the major parties, was seen as a step towards ensuring fairness and transparency in the electoral process. However, opinions among the residents varied.

Mrs. Amina Juma, a trader at the bustling Darajani shopping area, emphasized the importance of maintaining the calm and peace that the GNU had brought to the island. She stressed the need to address any unresolved issues to prevent a return to the cycle of violence that had marred previous elections.

On the other hand, Makame Athumani, a resident of Mwnakwerekwe, believed that the shaky nature of the GNU stemmed from its lack of representation at the grassroots level. He argued that the power-sharing agreement only existed at the top, without reaching down to the people.

The Maridhiano Agreement aimed to bridge the divide between the two major parties, CCM and CUF, and promote reconciliation, political stability, and electoral fairness through institutional reforms.

As Zanzibar prepared for fresh elections, the success of the GNU lay in its ability to address the concerns of all its citizens and ensure a smooth electoral process.


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