Shein wins Zanzibar re-run presidential polls

The Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) has declared incumbent Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein winner of the controversial re-run presidential polls in the east African archipelago after he had garnered 91.4 percent of Sunday’s repeat polls.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli congratulated Shein for the landslide victory, saying the victory showed that people in Zanzibar still trusted him.

He also thanked Zanzibaris for conducting peaceful elections, adding that his government will work closely with the government of Zanzibar.

Tanzania was formed in 1964 following the merger between Tanganyika and Zanzibar which is semi-autonomous.

However, despite the victory by the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Zanzibar was left at the crossroads because no presidential candidate from minor opposition parties scored 10 per cent of the votes needed to form a government of national unity (GNU) following the amendment of the Zanzibar constitution in 2010.

The introduction of GNU five years ago saw the ruling CCM and the main rival opposition party–the Civic United Front (CUF)–forming the government but CUF boycotted the re-run polls claiming that it won the October 25 elections which were annulled by ZEC chairman Jecha Salim Jecha on what he described as massive irregularities.

Calmness engulfed parts of the Islands after the announcement of the results as few residents in towns were seen busy with their daily chores.

Jecha who looked calm only used 17 minutes to announce the results before welcoming one presidential candidate from the opposition to give a speech on behalf of the opposition parties.

He thanked Zanzibar residents for turning out to participate in the re-run polls and for maintaining peace and harmony during the exercise.

“By powers given to me as ZEC chairman, I take this opportunity to announce Dr Ali Mohamed Shein from CCM as the winner following Sunday’s re-run polls,” he said, handing over a certificate of recognition to Shein.

On behalf of other political parties which contested in the elections, Hamad Rashid, a presidential candidate for the Alliance for Democratic Change congratulated Shein for his victory.

Speaking shortly after he was declared winner, Shein said: “This job is very hard but I pledge to serve and unite all Zanzibaris to bring real development.”