CUF now calls for civil disobedience in Z’bar

11Apr 2016
David Kisanga
The Guardian
CUF now calls for civil disobedience in Z’bar

AS Zanzibar president Ali Mohamed Shein swore in his cabinet yesterday, the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) announced the start of a civil disobedience campaign against the Isles government through people’s power and pressure from the international community.

Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad

Former Isles first vice president and CUF secretary general Seif Sharif Hamad told reporters here that the party was embarking on “a mission” aimed at bringing down what he described as an “illegitimate” government.

He said the mission will be carried out peacefully until the government surrenders, asserting that Zanzibaris would never allow themselves to be led by an illegal government.

“They (ruling CCM government) will feel the pressure coming from us soon,” he asserted.
He called on the international community to impose sanctions on Shein government leaders like restricting their travel and closing their offshore bank accounts which he alleged were stuffed with ill-gotten monies.

According to Hamad, CUF has details of government leaders who transferred huge sums of money to overseas bank accounts before the recent controversial Zanzibar election.

“We will cooperate with the international community to conduct investigations into the matter as we know who the leaders are,” he said.

Asked why CUF has not ventured to open case proceedings in the African court or International Criminal Court over alleged injustices surrounding the Zanzibar election, Hamad noted that the process could take a long time although they are looking into the possibilities of doing so.

The party also opened up on why it boycotted the March 20 rerun polls which saw incumbent president Shein sail through with unprecedented ease.

“Our decision was aimed at avoiding what then seemed like imminent chaos and bloodletting,” Hamad explained, maintaining that CUF’s participation in the rerun election would have led the Isles into another round of political bloodshed similar to or worse than that which occurred back in 2001.

That year, some Zanzibaris believed to be CUF supporters fled the archipelago and hid out in Somalia due to fears of been persecuted by the Isles government after CUF refused to accept the outcome of the 2000 general election, citing irregularities in CCM’s victory.

According to Hamad, those memories were behind CUF’s decision to boycott the election rerun this time around, to prevent similar political chaos and possible bloodshed since each party contending the election would have fought “fiercely” just to win.

“Life would have been worse in Zanzibar right now if we had participated in the election which CCM was ready to go to any length to ensure victory for the sake of their interests. Our aim was to prevent innocent lives from being lost,” the CUF leader said.

He said the boycott decision had been correct for the benefit of Zanzibaris of present and future generations, but added that CCM leaders will still have to face the consequences for inflicting such misery on Zanzibaris and denying them their democracy.

According to Hamad, CUF has decided to pursue more peaceful but by no means less effective ways to impress its concerns about constitutional and human rights, as well as the principles of democracy, in Zanzibar.

On Saturday, Shein unveiled a 22-strong team to run 13 ministries, including three presidential candidates from the opposition camp who participated in the recent polls re-run.

The opposition members appointed in the new cabinet are Hamad Rashid Mohamed from the ADC party, who becomes Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries, Said Soud Said (AFP) and Juma Ali Khatib (ADA-TADEA), both appointed as ministers without portfolio.