Shein rejects Zanzibar power-sharing deal


ZANZIBAR president Ali Mohamed Shein yesterday dashed hopes for another government of national unity (GNU) in the troubled archipelago, saying doing so would be unconstitutional given his “overwhelming” 91.4 per cent election rerun victory.
The formation of a coalition government between Zanzibar's two leading parties - the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and opposition Civic United Front (CUF) - succeeded in easing a political stalemate after the 2010 polls similar to the one currently prevailing in the Isles.
That move led to CUF’s secretary general Seif Sharif Hamad becoming the Isles first vice president while several other CUF members were chosen as cabinet ministers and deputy ministers in the GNU.
But this time around, President Shein said here that since no opposition party garnered the required constitutional threshold of 10 per cent of the vote in the March 20 polls rerun, overwhelming winners CCM would go it alone and form its own government.
The polls rerun was boycotted by CUF, which continues to insist that its presidential candidate Hamad was winning in the original election last October which was annulled in controversial circumstances midway during the vote count.
In the absence of CUF, Shein's closest rival in the presidential race, Hamad Rashid Mohamed from the Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC), got a measly 3 percent of the total vote at the election rerun.
In the Zanzibar context, a GNU is a power-sharing system of government which incorporates representatives of political parties that won at least 10 per cent of the presidential vote.
This is according to section 39(3) of Zanzibar’s 1984 Constitution, as amended in 2010, which Shein quoted in his inaugural address to the Zanzibar House of Representatives here yesterday to drum home his assertion that such a power-sharing deal wasn’t possible this time.
He also noted that CCM had a clean sweep of all 54 House of Representative constituency seats as none of the opposition parties managed to get even a single seat.
“Zanzibaris have made their choice by denying such a possibility (of a coalition government) and giving CCM the room to rule the country alone,” he said.
He said the appointment of Ambassador Seif Ali Idd as second vice president was done according to section 39(6) of the Zanzibar constitution, which states that for a person to hold such a post, he or she must be appointed from within members of the House of Representatives and from the political party of the president.
Dr Shein said he was forced to clarify the matter because of claims that he has refused to appoint a first vice president.
“Why should I have to appoint someone who does not qualify for the post? This would be violating the country’s constitution,” he stated.
He also moved to refute speculation that Zanzibar may be forced to go through yet another general election rerun after last month's disputed exercise, insisting that the next election in the Isles will be held in 2020 as scheduled, and not before.
On the niggling issue of donor dependence, Shein said his government will work hard to enable Zanzibar to become financially self-reliant.
According to the Minister for union affairs and the environment in the Union government, January Makamba, Shein has done the right thing in not appointing a first vice president so far because no one (in the opposition) is qualified to hold such a post constitutionally.
Meanwhile, hours after delivering his inaugural speech to the House, Shein appointed seven House of Representatives members, including three opposition presidential candidates who participated in the polls re-run.
Members of the opposition appointed by the president to serve in the House include Hamad Rashid Mohamed from the ADC party, Said Soud Said (African Farmers Party's - AFP), and Juma Ali Khatib (ADA-TADEA).
The other four appointed members are all from the ruling CCM party; former state minister Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, former Tanzania (Union government) presidential hopeful Amina Salum Ali, Moulin Castico, and Ambassador Ali Karume.
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