Elections in Zanzibar

An eerie silence has descended over Stone Town since 25th October 2015, the day of voting. Shops have been closed and apart from a few random folks like us who ventured out, the majority chose to remain indoors. In the last couple of weeks we were advised by a number of people to stock up on provisions as they predicted this closure of the town from previous experiences.

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Zanzibar has lived through Portuguese occupation, colonialism under the Sultanate of Oman, a bloody revolution and finally a treaty with the mainland, Tanganyika, in April 1964 that established what the United Republic of Tanzania is today. Incidentally, the name Tanzania was created by the words: Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Azania (being the Greek name for the eastern coast of Africa). Zanzibar has its own government and president while it maintains a political union with Tanzania.

The election fever has been in the air for a while, with two elections in the offing: the presidential race (general elections) in Tanzania and Zanzibar holding its own presidential elections. The current ruling party, the CCM has been in power for the last 50 years in both places and while they are still going strong in the mainland, I am told people in Zanzibar have been seeking a change.

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Campaigning on the roads

In the past couple of weeks there has been a lot of campaigning and in Zanzibar the two main parties are the CCM (green and yellow) and the opposition CUF (blue, red and white).

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Its been four days of deserted streets and life coming to a stand still, with a simmering unrest amongst the locals in anticipation of the results.

Finally, the Election commission chief has made an announcement  saying the results are nullified, it was scrapped because of several issues. Nothing has been said about when new elections will take place. Never before has the Island experienced this and people aren’t quite sure what to expect.

Do we have to go through this drama again?!

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