Tanzanian opposition party has urged the people on the semi-autonomous Islands of Zanzibar to boycott a rerun of presidential elections scheduled for March 20.
The election results were annulled in October by Zanzibar’s electoral body over alleged irregularities.
The Civic United Front (CUF) candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad declared himself the winner before the results were officially announced, and the party has warned of violence on the islands if the rescheduled ballot goes ahead.
“We are not going to take part in the elections… and we kindly ask other Zanzibaris, particularly those who respect rule of law and democracy, also to boycott the fresh elections,” the CUF said in a statement
In response, Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, Zanzibar’s minister for elections and internal affairs, has dismissed opposition threats to boycott saying, “the planned fresh polls will be held with or without opposition.”
Elections in Zanzibar have always been a tight two-horse race between the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has ruled mainland Tanzania for more than five decades, and the CUF.
The East Africa nation has been one of Africa’s most politically stable countries but Zanzibar has dissenting voices towards the central government in Tanzania, with strong calls for secession.