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Zanzibar Opposition Questions Fairness of Upcoming Polls

Political campaigning is heating up for the upcoming presidential and general elections in Tanzania. The ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or CCM, has been in power since the 1960’s. That’s when the Island of Zanzibar and mainland Tanganyika merged into what’s now the United Republic of Tanzania. The Civic United Front, or CUF, is a major opposition political party on the Islands of Zanzibar. It says it expects to win the election later this month because its support on the ground is so overwhelming.

The last election, in 2001, was too close to call. The ruling CCM claimed victory, but the opposition CUF, said the government had rigged the vote.

Ismail Jussa is the campaign chairman for CUF-Zanzibar. He told English to Africa reporter Shaka Ssali that in some ways, the atmosphere for the current polls is better than that of past elections. He says, for example, that there is less police harassment of the opposition. On the other hand, he doubts the accuracy of the voters’ rolls and ballot papers.