Masoud calls for removal of early voting in Zanzibar

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 09:11 AM May 20 2024
Ballot box
Photo: File
Ballot box

THE opposition ACT-Wazalendo national chairman Othman Masoud Othman has called for removal of early voting system for certain groups in the isles, claiming that it fuels tensions and chaos during elections.

According to the Zanzibar Election Act No 1 of 2018, Defence and Security personnel and the electoral body officials in Zanzibar vote days before the Election Day in order to enable them to fulfil their obligations during polling day.

Othman who is also Zanzibar First Vice President made the call when addressing the party’s leaders in Unguja North Region while winding his tour to thank members for completing the internal election of the party.

 “We need to remove this system; there is no need of setting two days for election; only one day is enough and all people can vote,” he said.

According to him, if this is addressed ahead of the General Election next year, ACT-Wazalendo will not take part because such procedure ruins democracy by allowing deception in votes.

 “When ACT-Wazalendo agreed to form the Government of National Unity, there were a number of issues which we agreed with the government that should be changed including reforms in the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC),” he said.

He said the agreement involved removal of ZEC’s secretariat and come up with a new system to get commissioners and other leaders who are competent and ethical in a transparent manner,

The first VP further wanted the government to remove expenses in obtaining birth certificates for the people in order to ensure that all Zanzibaris exercise their right to vote.

“All these should be done before the 2025 General Election because without doing so, there is no need of having the government of national unity,” he said.

Masoud said that the party’s leadership committee had already submitted its stance to the government on the major issues which should be considered. 

He said that due to the continued delay in the implementation of the agreed issues, the party’s leadership committee is expected to meet this month to make an assessment before making a decision on whether to continue in the GNU or withdraw.

Ismail Jussa Ladhu, ACT-Wazalendo Vice Chairman (Zanzibar), said that the party has prepared a strategy to go door-to-door to identify and register ACT-Wazalendo members and put records right.