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Campaigns Wrap Up Ahead of Zanzibar Election


Political parties contesting in Sunday's elections in semi-autonomous Zanzibar wrapped up their campaigns Saturday with rallies full of singing and chanting.

The streets of Stone Town on Zanzibar's Unguja Island Saturday were thronged with cheering, dancing, drum beating supporters of mostly the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or CCM, and the main opposition party Civic United Front, or CUF.

Although six presidential candidates are running in the October 30 polls, the main contest is between CCM and CUF.

At a sandy field in one part of town, scarves and hats worn by CCM supporters formed a sea of green and yellow, the party's colors.

CCM's presidential candidate Amani Abeid Karume, who is currently Zanzibar's president, promised his supporters a landslide victory in Sunday's polls.

He said his party has managed to maintain peace and stability throughout the years, and that people should not worry about security on election day.

Halfway across town, red, white, and blue, the colors of CUF, dominates the field.

CUF presidential candidate Seif Sharif Hamad was also certain of a victory on Sunday.

He urged the crowd to treat CCM supporters well because, "the house divided cannot stand."

The streets of Unguja have been fairly quiet over the past few days. Trucks filled with army soldiers have been patrolling the streets.

In the months leading up to the October 30 polls, there had been violent clashes between supporters of the two parties made worse by what the East Africa Law Society calls the "unjustifiably violent Zanzibar police."

During the 1995 and 2000 elections there were also sharp clashes between the two sides, with each accusing the other of fomenting the trouble.

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