Hamad refuses to shake hands with Shein at funeral

16Aug 2016
David Kisanga
The Guardian
Hamad refuses to shake hands with Shein at funeral

THE secretary general of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), Seif Sharif Hamad, yesterday refused to shake hands with Zanzibar president Ali Mohamed Shein at the funeral of former Isles leader Aboud Jumbe Mwinyi,

an action that appeared to underscore a growing political impasse in the archipelago.

Hamad, who was CUF’s presidential candidate in last October’s annulled presidential election and spearheaded the party’s boycott of the disputed poll rerun in March this year, snubbed Shein twice at the funeral ceremony at the late Jumbe’s Migombani residence in Zanzibar.

The incident happened as various government officials, political leaders, ex- presidents and other dignitaries were lined up outside the house to receive Shein on his arrival.

The CUF leader appeared to deliberately ignore Dr Shein’s hand twice as the other dignitaries looked on in some consternation.

Officials of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party blasted Hamad for his action, saying he was wrong to extend political rivalry even at the funeral of a former Zanzibar president.

CCM deputy secretary Vuai Ali Vuai described the snub as "a childish act" due to the fact that it was not a political function, but a funeral.

“Hamad has shown Zanzibaris that he is not yet politically mature because we usually set such differences aside at times of mutual national concern such as disasters, death, and so on,” Vuai said.

But CUF’s director of information and publicity, Salim Bimani, was full of praise for Hamad over what he did.
According to Bimani, such public snubs are among the party’s strategies to show that it doesn’t recognise Shein and his government, which it considers to be illegitimate.

He said CUF continues to insist that the nullification of the October election was done purely in the interests of the ruling party CCM.“We will continue to stand firm on our decision not to recognise Dr Shein and his government until they surrender,” said Bimani.

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