Sunday, 10 January 2016

Heal Zanzibaris,  get matters fixed

By Ally Saleh =Sunday Citizen

The body language of Zanzibaris shows it all. They are tired, worn out and weary of their next day. They are frustrated and edgy all the time. They feel cheated, cornered and left to rot by the United Republic Government.

One can see this in their faces, in their talks on coffee barazas and the buzzes in the social media, now battle ground,  where hot exchanges take place including foul language and abuses.

They also feel abandoned by the international community  they believed was always at the ready when human rights and democracy are  abrogated and ready to deal with pouncing powers when governments and people violate  international accepted standards on elections.

It is now more than two months since elections were annulled in Zanzibar and most of the legal fraternity and the international community do believe that this was wrong and both Zanzibar Electoral Commission Chairperson Jecha Salum Jecha and the Commission itself have no legal authority to do so.

The Tanzania Government under Chama cha Mapinduzi CCM has been through this before seeing Opposition Civic United Front  stolen of their elections in 1995, 20000, 2005 and 2010 but not only condoned the theft but also blessed it.

It only ended with then President Mkapa and Kikwete trying to negotiate a good deal for their party and always putting CUF as loser. They have been second fiddler for four times and this time around they want to call the tune. And the tune is to be handed are reigns of power because they have legitimately won the elections by margin of over 25,000 votes.

Most Zanzibaris would  openly say that this would be their last time to vote if the will of the people will not be respected.  They will say they have voted five times but all in vain. They have waited five times but all in pain. They have voted their man Seif Shariff Hamad five times but with no gain.

Many consider Maalim Seif as the most patient person they have ever met, most resilient person they ever known and most humble person they will ever meet. Getting robbed of elections five times and yet staying calm and collected and calling the membership and populace to wait, is but prophetic.

And some of us believe, both the United Republic Government and the international community, have taken advantage of Maalim Seif in the real negative sense of the word. That every time an election is stolen from him he is the one who goes out begging, yes begging for his own right to be restored, nothing more.

It is disheartening to Zanzibaris that President after President in the Union government have thought nothing of those Zanzibaris who go out in their droves to vote for a party they believe would take them to their destiny, but their dreams is cut short and instead propel regime of their liking.

And soon when election dust settles down the international community fly in to Zanzibar to offer their support to governments that have violently raped democracy, that have stabbed the will of the people and that has slain the hope of Zanzibaris. They pamper them with project financing and budget support money.

The Union government has been sending wrong signals to leadership in Zanzibar by not telling them this can not happen now and the donor and international community play the same music  by not acting decisively on the Union Government itself as they have done else where when international set democracy standards are flouted.

There will be few options to Zanzibaris should this fail. Find their rights through another alternative or go the apathy way to render democracy impotent, and there will be no one to change their minds.

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