Zanzibar: CUF condemns the killings carried out by the CCM government on the island of Pemba
In the upheaval, which was deliberately organized by Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to disrupt the registration of citizens in the permanent voters register, soldiers from the coast guard (KMKM) fired live ammunition at unarmed, innocent civilians. One person was murdered and two others were badly injured. The injured persons are: Bakari Ali Bakari who was shot in the chest and badly injured was taken to Muhimbili hospital in Dar-es-Salaam by CUF to be treated. The other injured was Shaib Ali Abeid who was shot in the armpit and has been admitted to Abdulla Mzee hospital, Mkoani, on the island of Pemba.
Another civilian, Omar Hamad, was badly beaten by soldiers from the JKU with clubs until he lost consciousness. He is also now in Abulla Mzee hospital.
These events which took place at the registration station of Ng’ombeni were deliberate acts of violence and are part of a concerted plan by the government of President Amani Karume to cause violence and disruption during the voter registration drive by sending thousands of ‘soldiers’ from government forces including JKU (national service), KVZ (Volunteers), KMKM (Coastguard), Prison Services and Firemen from the island of Unguja with the aim of stationing them in Pemba and ordering them to register themselves to vote in the districts of Pemba.
It was clear from the outset that this step by the government would lead to deaths since the citizens of Pemba had already issued a warning that they would not allow these invaders to be registered.
CUF also condemns other acts intended to bring disturbances to the island of Pemba and oppress innocent civilians with the aim of frightening them so that they will not exercise their democratic rights to register to vote and to chose the leaders they wish.
Since the first day of the registration drive, Monday November 29, the Police appeared to fail to maintain law and order and the whole of Pemba was taken under the control of the forces of the Revolutionary Government, namely the militias of the JKU, KMKM, Prison Services, Volunteers and even the Firemen who go around in open lorries and on the streets with very heavy weaponry. These forces have no legal mandate nor training to participate in confronting civilians or protecting the security of citizens and their property.
During the chain of events of oppression and harassment, on the second day of the registration (Tuesday, November 30) JKU and Volunteers fired shots in the air and harassed, beat and arrested civilians in Kendwa, Kiwani constituency in the district of Mkoani after these citizens prevented those soldiers from registering themselves and after the Registration Officer from the ZEC (Zanzibar Electoral Commission) at the Kendwa station refused to register them also.
The village headwoman (Sheha) (who is supposed to be the agent of the Electoral Commission) of this Shehia (area) of Kendwa together with her son set the station on fire with petrol and caused serious injury to the registration clerk from ZEC. Seeing this, angry citizens followed these people who had fled to the local CCM branch office, and beat them. Following this event, the JKU and Volunteers pounced and started to beat these people even in their homes until the evening when the Police and Riot Police (FFU) arrived.
There have been attempts to take over the registration stations of Ng’ombeni, Chokocho, Kendwa and Ngomeni in Mkoani district and also those of Pujini and Fidel Castro (Wawi) in Chake Chake district with the aim of forcing the registration of the militias of President Amani Karume, who are now known in Zanzibar as “Janjaweed”. In all these places the citizens have been witnessing what has been going on and have refused to allow the ‘Janjaweed’ to be registered.
The Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) called a meeting yesterday
(Wednesday December 1) between itself, political parties and the heads of the
forces of the Zanzibar government. CCM did not attend the meeting and instead
sent a letter saying that they did not want such a meeting. The Commissioners
of the ZEC said openly in this meeting that if it had not been for the violence
of the governmental militias in the stations mentioned above, the registration
process would have passed off without any problem at all.
We have received reports which show that the violence was encouraged and even provoked by the Chief Minister, Shamsi Vuai Nahodha who has decamped to the southern area of Pemba to supervise this operation of his boss, President Amani Karume, to forcefully secure a second Presidential term even though he knows that Zanzibaris from Unguja and Pemba completely reject him, as they rejected him at the elections of 2000. There is a report that the Minister of State in the Office of the President (responsible for special Zanzibar Government Forces), Suleiman Nyanga ordered all the members of his militias to make sure they were registered even if they had to use force.
We, CUF, call on the Chief Minister, Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, to
take responsibility and to resign for provoking the death of the innocent boy,
Juma Omar Juma, and for disrupting the registration drive for the creation of
a permanent voters register and interfering with the work of the Electoral Commission.
Apart from these areas where the ‘Janjaweed’ militias of President Amani Karume have been causing trouble the registration has proceeded well in all the 50 stations in the South of Pemba. It is in those areas where the government militias force themselves to be registered at the barrel of a gun that problems and violence have erupted. In 8 stations registration has been suspended after ZEC officers have recorded problems.
This is indeed the situation that President Amani Karume has brought to Zanzibar. This is indeed how CCM and the government of President Karume are implementing the political agreement between CCM and CUF which insisted on free, fair, peaceful and credible elections.
The events on Pemba and especially the killing are troubling signs of the situation that confronts us as we approach the General Election of 2005, and especially if CCM loses and is required to give up power. The ‘Janjaweed’ forces of President Karume are being prepared to come and create even more trouble this time around. It is clear that the government of the United Republic of Tanzania has failed to guarantee the peace and security of Zanzibaris and therefore cannot be relied upon to supervise a free, fair and peaceful election in 2005.
CUF repeats once again our call for the United Nations to get involved in Zanzibar to take responsibility for running and supervising the General Election of 2005.
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL
SEIF SHARIF HAMAD
02 December 2004
DAR ES SALAAM