By: HASSAN ALI
Opposition leader Seif Sharif Hamad on Monday said he was crafting a list of his cabinet ministers to start working immediately after he is declared the 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 Hamad, adding that he was putting together a line-up of ministers so he can start serving the people once he is sworn in.
Mr Hamad said the Cabinet includes members of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as provided for in an amendment to the Zanzibar Constitution that introduced the Government of National Unity in 2010.
He was addressing a meeting of Civic United Front (CUF) officials from all levels of the organization called to brief them on the developments since the surprise annulment of the election results.
“I want to assure you that CUF won the elections and the ruling party lost, and now all that remains is for me to be announced officially as the winner and sworn into office so that we can together build our nation,” said Mr Hamad, who is the first vice-president in the outgoing government.
The CUF supremo said he did not have any objection to working with CCM as the law requires, challenging President Ali Mohammed Shein to gracefully concede defeat and name anyone else he wanted to work as Mr Hamad’s deputy if he did not want to occupy that position himself.
WE HAVE WON 27 SEATS
“I honestly do not know what our colleagues in CCM fear because we have won 27 seats 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 Mr Hamad, “the whole world knows who was elected president by the people of Zanzibar”.
He told the party’s officials to disregard “propaganda being peddled by CCM for a repeat election”.
Mr Hamad said there was no reason to repeat the elections as winners at all 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 Monday for the first time since he declared himself the winner of the October 25 General Election before Zanzibar Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) chairman, Mr Jecha Duni Jecha, annulled the outcome, Mr Hamad said he was 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 poll would be held in 90 days, but officials have not indicated the way forward since the nullification was announced.
Several internal and diplomatic meetings have been held to seek a solution to the political crisis but no concrete steps have emerged yet.
Most regional and international observers, including the African Union, East African Community, the UN, the US and the European Union, have all advised against a repeat election and urged the ZEC to conclude the tallying of the presidential vote and conclude the elections peacefully.
Unconfirmed media reports suggested Monday that former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who led the Commonwealth team of observers in the Tanzania elections, had been named mediator in the crisis.
Mr Shein, whose five-year term expired on November 2, continues to serve as president until the next leader is declared and sworn in.