Failed talks rising tension in Z’bar, cleric urges reconciliation

22Jan 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Failed talks rising tension in Z’bar, cleric urges reconciliation
  • • Public demands explanation for stalled talks

TENSION is on the rise in Zanzibar following withdrawal of CUF’s Secretary General Seif Shariff Hamad from talks with CCM leaders.

The public is calling upon the leaders to resume the talks but also demand to know progress of the talks thus far and what led to their break last week.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday in the isles, Anglican Bishop for Zanzibar Diocese Michael Hafidh appealed to the Zanzibar national leaders to resume talks and bring the impasse to an end. He cited the fact that the deadlock is gravely affecting the isles’ economy.
The Bishop said because of the nature of the Island’s economy that largely relies on tourism, the uncertainty of the island’s political future is affecting the sector. The cleric also pointed out in this situation, it is the common worker who suffers the most.
“It is time our leaders raised above party politics and brought an end to this impasse which is causing unnecessary suffering especially to the poor,” he said.
“There is unending anxiety among Zanzibaris because they don’t know what the future holds. This cannot be allowed to continue,” the cleric warned.
Some Zanzibaris interviewed yesterday asked political leaders who participated in the negotiations to give a public statement.
Majority of interviewed residents said the failure of the talks is reason for concern and faulted leaders in the talks for defending party instead of national interests.
“The people want to know the development of the negotiations and the reasons that caused Hamad to quit the talks,” said Juma Rashid Juma a concerned islander.
“We have waited for a long time for the leaders to come up with amicably answers to the impasse but our hopes have been crashed and now we do not know our fate,’ he said.
“Majority of Zanzibar’s had hoped that the talks would end amicably but following the walk out, I don’t think this is a safe place to stay now,” he said and revealed that he plans to take his family to his relatives on the mainland until the impasse is addressed.
A trader at the busy Darajani Market, Ali Vuai faulted the political leaders for what he described as ‘playing around with the citizens lives.’
“Yet they know how we are tired of waiting and the tension... they have been given enough time to come up with answers that will please them but they have still failed,’ he said.
“We are even not aware of what they have discussed so far and what issues made Hamad withdraw from the talks,” he added.
Mwajuma Ramadhani, a primary school teacher urged “ is now time for the leaders to make public what they have discussed so far and we also need to know why one side has decided to withdraw from the negotiations.”
“ Zanzibaris are tired of living in fear of what may happen...we need to know the fate of our country,” said the teacher.
Early this week, Hamad who was the opposition CUF candidate in the October 25 Zanzibar presidential election withdrew from weeks of negotiations with CCM bigwigs. The talks sought to end the standoff over the botched elections.

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