CUF leader says he’s crafting Zanzibar cabinet

Zanzibar opposition leader Seif Sharif Hamad said Sunday he was crafting a list of his cabinet ministers to start working immediately he was declared duly elected president of Zanzibar.
“I have no doubt in my mind that I am the president-elect and only waiting to be sworn in as appropriate,” said Mr Hamad, adding that he was currently putting together a line-up of ministers so that he gets down to serving the people once he is sworn in.
Mr Hamad said the government he was working on include members from Tanzania’s ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as provided for in the amendment of Zanzibar constitution that introduced the Government of National Unity in 2010.
He was addressing a meeting of all Civic United Front (CUF) officials from all levels of the organisation who had been called for a briefing on the developments since the surprise annulment of the election results last month.
“I want to assure you that CUF won the elections and the ruling party was defeated and now all that remains is for me to be announced officially and sworn into office so that we can together build our nation,” said Mr Hamad, who was the First Vice-President in the outgoing Zanzibari government.
The CUF supremo said he did not have any objection of working together with CCM as the law requires, challenging President Ali Mohammed Shein to gracefully concede defeat and name anyone else he wanted to work as his (Hamad’s) deputy if he did not want to occupy that position.
“I honestly do not know what our colleagues in CCM fear because we have won 27 seat in the House of Representatives as they have. We will have the same numbers of cabinet ministers and lead the country together,” he said.
According to him, “the whole world knows who was elected president by the people of Zanzibar” and told the party’s officials to disregard “propaganda being peddled by CCM for a repeat election.”
Mr Seif said there was no reason to repeat the elections as winners in all the levels were declared without any hitch. “What remains now is for the election authority to finalise the tallies for the presidency and declare the winner,” he said.
And speaking yesterday for the first time on accusations that he declared himself the winner of the October 25 general election before Zanzibar Electoral Commission chairman Jecha Duni Jecha annulled the outcome, Mr Seif said he would be ready to defend his stance in court.
“What I said was that ZEC ought to declare me as the winner because I won fairly. What is the problem in stating the obvious? I am ready to go to court and defend my position if anyone feels aggrieved,” he said.
While announcing the cancellation of the election results, Mr Jecha said a repeat exercise would be held in 90 days bit there has not been any signs on which way forward since then.
Several diplomatic meetings have taken place to attempt to find a solution to the political crisis but no concrete steps have emerged yet. Most regional and international observers, AU, EAC, UN, US and EU countries have all aised against a repeat election and urged ZEC to conclude the tallying of the presidential vote and conclude the elections peacefully.
Unconfirmed media reports suggested yesterday that former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan who led the Commonwealth team of observers in the Tanzania elections had been named mediator in the crisis.
President Shein whose five-year term in office expired on November 2 continues to serve in the position until the next leader is declared and sworn-in.
Legal opinion remains divided whether the president was in office illegally or if the Union constitution was also violated to allow for ascendancy of Dr John Magufuli as Tanzania president despite the Zanzibar stalemate.
The crisis would be Dr Magufuli’s first major test as he settles in office as Tanzania’s fifth president.