By TZ Business News Staff
The clergy in Tanzania’s Zanzibar islands prayed for peace, unity and solidarity among the islanders on Thursday, March 24, 2016, when Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein was sworn-in as Zanzibar President after winning a controversial election re-run four days earlier.
Religious leaders were given opportunity to pray for the well-being of the new Zanzibar Government, where one prayed that Dr. Shein be blessed with the wisdom to unite Zanzibaris, and for God to foster the spirit of forgiveness among the people of Zanzibar because there may be grievances among the population.
The Head of Zanzibar Religious Courts (Chief Kadh), Khamis Haji Khamis prayed for Dr. Shein to be creative and hard-working in his new leadership, capable to build peace, love and unity among people in the isles. The Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar, Augustino Shayo asked God to provide the President with assistants of integrity and honesty. Shayo asked President Shein to be just in his decisions.
Zanzibar retained a semi-autonomous status in its union with mainland Tanganyika in 1964 when the United Republic of Tanzania was formed. In this form of Government, Zanzibar elects a separate presidency from that of the union and has maintained a separate legislative body called the Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar.
But the Zanzibar president and members of the council are elected at the same time as the Union president and members of the Union parliament. The Zanzibar component of the Tanzania general elections held October 25, 2015 was cancelled by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission on claims it was full of irregularities, after which an election re-run was announced for March 20, 2016.
But a coalition of four opposition political parties which had signed a pact to mount a united challenge against the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in the 2015 general elections opposed the idea of the re-run and declined from participating in the re-election on charges that the coalition’s Presidential contestant in Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad had won the October vote. The coalition calling itself UKAWA included Chama Cha Demokrasia na Mandeleo (CHADEMA), the Civic United Front (CUF), the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi).
In a twist of events a separate group of political parties formed a separate coalition which agreed to participate in the election re-run. Tanzania has 22 registered political parties. The new coalition of slightly insignificant parties comprised of the parties ADC, Tadea, TLP, SAU and AFP. The new coalition’s spokesman became Mr. Hamad Rashid of ADC.
Dr Shein of the CCM party won the disputed election re-run by 91.4 percent of the votes cast on Sunday, March 20, 2016. He was sworn in for his second term in a ceremony boycotted by the main opposition political party in Zanzibar, the Civic United Front, which abstained from the re-run as part of the UKAWA stand to decline from participating.
Speaking immediately after the swearing-in ceremony where religious leaders prayed for him, Dr. Shein promised to work closely with the political parties which have expressed willingness to work with him.
Dr. Shein said his new Government’s main priorities would be peace and tranquillity. He then warned that his Government would maintain zero-tolerance for people and groups inclined to bring chaos in Zanzibar. The re-elected President also promised to work closely with all religious organizations in the archipelago.