Zanzibar opposition campaign manager says he was threatened by armed men


An opposition party campaign manager in semi-autonomous Zanzibar said on Sunday that he had been seized and threatened by armed men, while a parliamentary candidate was still missing before Tanzanian elections next week.

Earlier on Sunday the ACT-Wazalendo party said Nassor Mazrui, its Zanzibar campaign manager and the party’s deputy secretary general for the archipelago, and Abdalla Ali Abdalla, the party candidate for the House of Representative elections, had been abducted on Saturday in separate incidents.

Mazrui re-emerged at the party’s political rally in Zanzibar later on Sunday, saying his assailants fired a shot in the air before forcing him out of his car and into theirs. They later released him in a forest, he said.

“Throughout the time my face was covered face with a cloth and they frightened me seriously. Some people said I staged my abduction. Why should I do that? For what benefit?” he said in comments broadcast on television.

Zanzibar police were not immediately available to comment.

ACT Wazalendo, which wants a new constitution that would grant Zanzibar “a full autonomy”, has given no update on the fate of Abdalla. Its spokesman could not be reached.

Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania are due to hold elections for president, lawmakers and local governments on Wednesday. Zanzibar has previously been rocked by post-election violence in 2001, resulting in the death of more than 35 people.

Opposition parties have said in the lead up to the election, their candidates campaigns have been disrupted on several occasions, while dozens of parliamentary candidates were disqualified.

The government has previously denied clamping down on dissent.