Zanzibar opposition to meet army chief over political crisis


The main opposition leader in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago will meet the country’s army chief to discuss the political situation in the islands, amid unrest after a disputed election.

Tanzania held national elections on Oct. 25, which included a vote for local authorities in Zanzibar, traditionally a bastion of opposition to the central government.

But Zanzibar’s election commission annulled the vote for the island’s president, citing “gross violations”. The main opposition Civic United Front (CUF) rejected the move, saying it had won that poll.

Two bombs exploded minutes apart in Zanzibar on Saturday without causing casualties.

In a statement late on Sunday, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete’s office said the president had ordered talks between CUF leaders and the Chief of Defence Forces, General Davis Mwamunyange, following a request from the opposition party.

It is unclear what opposition leaders plan to discuss with the army chief in the meeting scheduled for this week.

Kikwete has also instructed the country’s police chief to investigate opposition complaints against the conduct of policemen during the elections.

The presidency dismissed opposition claims that Kikwete had refused to meet with CUF’s presidential candidate in Zanzibar, Seif Sharrif Hamad, to discuss the situation on the islands.
“President Kikwete would like to express his readiness to do whatever is in his powers to regularize the situation in Zanzibar,” the presidency added in a statement.