Civic United Front secretary-general Seif Sharif Hamad, who is also Zanzibar’s first vice-president, has called for the Isles to secede, arguing that they are not benefiting from the Union.
This is the first time the party has come out explicitly calling for Zanzibar’s secession.
“We are only getting 4.5 per cent of the total budget instead of 11.5 per cent. That is why we are saying the Union isn’t helping us. We shall get more benefits if we get full autonomy. We can then sit down and agree areas we could co-operate,” Mr Hamad said at a rally in Pemba on Sunday.
Secession calls came during the constitution review after Zanzibar called for the proposed constitution to give more autonomy to the Isles.
Last month, one of CCM’s three surviving Zanzibar revolutionaries, Nassor Moyo, became the second CCM member to be expelled from the party after allegations that he had attended CUF rallies and talked against the Union. Mansour Yusuf Himid, Kiembesamaki MP and former Cabinet minister, was expelled last year and immediately announced he was joining the CUF.
CCM members have on various occasions accused former Zanzibar president Amani Abeid Karume of supporting CUF’s secession calls.
Mr Hamad is expected to vie for the presidency for the fifth time in Zanzibar in October. Most of previous elections there have been marred by violence and deaths.
Meanwhile, CUF national chairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba has collected nomination forms to seek his party’s nomination to vie for the Union presidency for the fifth time since 1995.
However, Prof Lipumba would have to seek another nod from the newly established opposition party coalition known as Ukawa under which the main opposition parties have agreed to field one presidential candidate in the October election.
Ukawa will receive names of candidates from all coalition parties, scrutinise them and select one to represent them against a CCM candidate in the election. The joint candidate will be announced in August.
However, Chadema sources say that, being the main opposition party with over 48 MPs in parliament, it has better chances of producing a presidential candidate than other parties under Ukawa.
The EastAfrican understands that a power sharing agreement signed between the parties last month stipulated that a presidential and prime ministerial candidates would come from Chadema while other partners would be given several constituencies to vie for and ministerial positions if the coalition wins.
Method of nomination
The revelation comes amid concerns over disagreements within the alliances on the method used to choose the presidential candidate.
Prof Lipumba’s decision to attend the launch of the newly registered party ACT-Wazalendo led to speculations that there were disagreements among the partners in Ukawa. Zitto Kabwe established the party after he was ousted by Chadema in February.
Prof Lipumba has been the CUF presidential contender since the first multiparty election in 1995 but has lost in all the elections.
After the 2010 election, Chadema edged out CUF as the main opposition party and analysts feel it is slowly disappearing from the mainland, since it has only two MPs from Southern Tanzania, one of its few remaining strongholds.
Prof Lipumba said he would contest to represent Ukawa as its presidential candidate but he would accept the outcome if he wasn’t nominated.
Prof Lipumba is the second opposition leader to declare his intention to run after Dr George Kahangwa from the NCCR-Mageuzi declared his interest. No candidate from Chadema has so far declared interest.
“Mutual trust between the parties forming Ukawa has been a milestone in achieving unity and solidarity amongst them — and it will remain so until they mutually agree on the candidate to represent them,” CUF election officer Abdulrahman Lugone said.
Additional reporting by Elias Mhegera