Opposition says Magufuli’s new parliament illegal

The opposition has challenged President John Magufuli’s inauguration of a parliament without MPs and the new president from Zanzibar following the annulment of Zanzibar polls last October.

Legal experts however said the annulment of the polls didn’t affect the inauguration of parliament.

The Union Constitution requires that the Zanzibar House of Representatives elect five of its members to represent them in the parliament but the annulment of both presidential and parliamentary polls have left the political future of Zanzibar hanging.

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While the international community has aocated for a political solution that would entail the poll results to be announced and the winner sworn in, the government of Zanzibar has refused saying it will repeat the elections in January next year.

The Zanzibar police said that it had launched an investigation into allegations of poll fraud starting with the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) executives.

Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, former Civic United Front (CUF) had warned President Magufuli not to allow Ali Mohammed Shein in his inauguration address since his tenure of office as President of Zanzibar ended on November 2.

Prof Lipumba who resigned last August after the coalition of the opposition political parties had nominated former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa as their presidential candidate said at a press conference on Thursday that withholding poll results would provide an opportunity for radical people in Zanzibar to persuade the youth that democracy never served the people.

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Meanwhile, Ukawa said that they had written a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai asking for the postponement of the inauguration until the poll results for Zanzibar were announced.  

Chadema chairman, Freeman Mbowe said that the opposition believed that CUF presidential candidate for Zanzibar, Seif Hamad had won the election and asked ZEC to declare him the winner of the election. Mr Mbowe said in the letter signed by all 109 opposition MPs that President Magufuli’s presidency was illegitimate until the Zanzibar question was resolved.

“We want the matter to be resolved immediately because what is going on in Zanzibar is illegal. We are surprised that President Jakaya Kikwete left office without resolving the matter,” the letter said.

However, the government of Zanzibar said in a statement that Dr Shein was still a legal president of Zanzibar according to the Constitution and therefore would attend the inauguration.

Mohammed Aboud, minister of State in the Second Vice President’s Office said the Zanzibar polls were annulled in accordance with the Constitution and Dr Shein would remain President until another election was held and a new president declared.