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Heavy Security Deployment in Zanzibar was unnecessary, EAC

Arusha. The East African Community (EAC) election observers have described the last Sunday’s rerun of the general election in Zanzibar saying it was characterised by intimidating and thus instilled fear due to the tight security that was deployed there.

It said in its preliminary report wired to media houses across the region that although the voting exercise was generally “peaceful and calm”, the number of security personnel deployed was “somehow intimidating”.

The Election Observer Mission, which was led by former Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori noted that there was a high number of rejected votes at some stations in the polls boycotted by the main opposition party, CUF, and other political parties.

The CCM presidential candidate, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein was, re-elected as the seventh President of Zanzibar, an archipelago which forms part of the United Republic of Tanzania. He got 91.4 per cent of all votes cast.

This time around the regional organisation had members on the ground, visiting 70 polling stations, of which 80 per cent were in Unguja and 20 per cent in Pemba.

“The polling environment was generally peaceful and calm,” the report said, noting, however, that a significant number of polling stations “did not witness any voters presenting themselves to cast their votes.”

Although EAC maintains that it was not questioning the powers bestowed on ZEC as the only entity mandated to announce the winner of the presidential elections in Zanzibar, it was still not comfortable with the extended powers of the electoral body.

According to Article 51(2) of the Zanzibar Electoral Act, 1984( as amended), ZEC has the authority to postpone an election if there are impediments.

By Robert Muriisa.

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