“By raising such points CCM is downgrading such an important issue that requires high level of seriousness, for it concerns the future of our country. During the whole period of 14 months when the negotiations were taking place, involving 21 sittings, members of the CCM negotiation team never uttered this argument about referendum. What is even more disappointing is that, contrary to what has been said, this recommendation for referendum was not raised by members of NEC but was part of the report tabled by the CCM negotiation committee to the Central Committee and NEC. It is thus obvious that the plot was hatched well in advanced, in what is considered to be a tactic to ‘win a march’ over CUF. This act by CCM to come up with an entirely new proposal apart from what was agreed is an act of scuttling and sabotaging this issue which is very important and in the interest of our nation and its people. In any case, if their proposal is sincerely aimed at involving the people as they claim, why did the CCM negotiation committee not put it on the table during the negotiations, instead of smuggling it through the back door as a way of ‘point scoring’ over CUF?”
Statement by Civic United Front (CUF) following a statement by National Executive Committee (NEC) of CCM regarding the negotiations on political stalemate in Zanzibar
On 17 March, 2008, the National Council of CUF met in Zanzibar when it received and ratified the agreement reached by the Negotiation Teams of CCM and CUF on permanent resolution of political standoff in Zanzibar. On the same day, CUF announced to its members and people of Tanzania in general the results of the meeting of its National Council. The announcement was made at a rally held at Democracy Grounds in Zanzibar.
This was an important step to be taken by CUF after our two parties agreed to submit the agreement (Muafaka) reached to the higher party organs for endorsement before they are signed and sealed. After CUF fulfilled its obligation, it was our earnest hope and belief that CCM would do the same.
It was very surprising however when yesterday we received a statement by NEC regarding the reconciliation talks. Basically it was a rejection of the agreement reached by our two negotiation teams.
CCM decided to dodge the whole issue by using vague language, misguiding and misrepresenting the agreement with the aim of either delaying it until 2010 or rejecting it outright. This is the agreement that their representatives participated fully in preparing during the last 14 months.
This becomes evident from the following main reasons:
1. CCM statement says it has ‘accepted in principle’ the proposals put forward by its negotiating committee. But at the same time it talks of amendments that it wants to be made. Thus it directs its committee to meet the CUF committee in order to discuss the amendments.
To start with, CCM has not stated categorically what are the amendments its wants to be made. Secondly, this proposal is surprising because members of the CCM negotiation team were all the time telling their CUF counterparts that they were in constant touch with their Central Committee and NEC, that throughout the negotiations they were communicating with President Jakaya Kikwete and Honourable Amani Karume, from whom they were getting guidance and directives all the time. Even the latest statement by CCM refuted media stories by saying Hon Karume was not a stumbling block to the Muafaka, emphasising that at every step the leaders were kept fully informed and consulted. This latest step was intended to give a green light to the agreement that was reached, and not to start a new round of negotiations.
2. CCM now has come up with a new argument, that if the proposals are accepted then they would bring about major changes to the administrative system in Zanzibar. Thus they need to be put before the people for a referendum.
By raising such points CCM is downgrading such an important issue that requires high level of seriousness, for it concerns the future of our country. During the whole period of 14 months when the negotiations were taking place, involving 21 sittings, members of the CCM negotiation team never uttered this argument about referendum. What is even more disappointing is that, contrary to what has been said, this recommendation for referendum was not raised by members of NEC but was part of the report tabled by the CCM negotiation committee to the Central Committee and NEC. It is thus obvious that the plot was hatched well in advanced, in what is considered to be a tactic to ‘win a march’ over CUF. This act by CCM to come up with an entirely new proposal apart from what was agreed is an act of scuttling and sabotaging this issue which is very important and in the interest of our nation and its people. In any case, if their proposal is sincerely aimed at involving the people as they claim, why did the CCM negotiation committee not put it on the table during the negotiations, instead of smuggling it through the back door as a way of ‘point scoring’ over CUF?
Another important point we have to consider is, who will conduct the referendum and under what circumstances. We have to keep in mind that both CCM and CUF have agreed that the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the permanent voters’ register have basic shortcomings which need to be rectified. How can we then ever trust ZEC with its flawed register to carry out a free and fair referendum?
We think the whole argument put forward by CCM is a delaying tactics, so that the signing of the agreement and its implementation is put off indefinitely. This becomes evident in the report they tabled, in which they talk of ‘scoring points’ over CUF. It shows they have no intention of letting the people decide.
On these grounds therefore CUF does not agree with the two arguments they put forward.
We have to admit that we were shocked by the way CCM is playing around with such an important issue. On the other hand we are satisfied that it has given an opportunity to people of this country to see for themselves who, between CCM and CUF, works for peace and tranquillity in this nation. They now know who is against cooperation and reconciliation in this country.
It is now evidently clear that CCM entered the negotiation without genuine desire and intention to resolve the political crisis in Zanzibar. It seems the sole purpose of CCM in participating in the talks was to con the Tanzanians and International Community. By so doing they were cheating themselves that they could politically control CUF by dangling a carrot through strategic engagement, while prolonging the talks until the election time without tackling the issue. It is now abundantly clear that CCM has no interest of the nation at heart and has no wish to see that national unity and lasting peace is achieved in Zanzibar which is an integral part of the United Republic.
On the other hand, people of Tanzania and International Community are witness to the fact that CUF has done its utmost to make sure that the volatile situation in Zanzibar doesn’t get worse. CUF has left no stone unturned to see to it that the negotiations reach a successful end. It has given all cooperation needed by CCM, including giving concessions over its major demands, so as to ensure the success of the talks.
CUF has demonstrated patience, tolerance, maturity and prudence during the talks. At every step we were willing to compromise with CCM whenever we were asked to have patience. Sometimes, even without being asked, we ourselves showed understanding and gave them concession when some unforeseen political circumstances cropped up and when we thought they needed more time. CCM doesn’t seem to care about all our efforts and are now trampling on them.
As we have been saying, we did not do all this because CUF is politically weak, as CCM would like to believe. We did all this because we are led by good intentions to maintain peace and tranquillity in our nation, while being convinced that negotiation is the only civilised option we have to resolve the social and political stalemate. But we must insist that such negotiations must be focussed and led by genuine political will, and based on mutual respect. This is what is missing on the part of CCM and President Jakaya Kikwete.
Following problems encountered during the talks last year, President Jakaya Kikwete issued a public statement on 14 August, 2007, appealing to CUF to continue with the negotiations, while assuring the people of Tanzania that he would take steps to make sure that the talks reach successful ending. While addressing diplomatic corps during the new year celebrations early this year, President Jakaya Kikwete told them that the talks were about to be concluded and that very soon the issue ot political impasse in Zanzibar was to become history. This statement was received with high hope by the people who have been keenly following our negotiations. It is unfortunate that President Jakaya Kikwete has let them down, in the same way that he did with the promises that he gave them while campaigning for presidency.
CUF is very disappointed with Hon Jakaya Kikwete as Head of State and as Chairperson of CCM. The trust we had in him until CCM was heading towards NEC meeting has been thoroughly shaken. The act of NEC under its chairperson in rejecting the agreement reached by negotiation teams of CCM and CUF and coming up with strange logics aiming at scoring points over CUF, goes to show that either President Jakaya Kikwete was not sincere and trustworthy right from the beginning when he said he was pained by the impasse, or he is a weak leader who fails to control the party that he is supposed to lead. In both cases, it doesn’t qualify him as a leader needed by a nation that is passing through a stormy patch.
As we did last year, we would like to again remind Hon Jakaya Kikwete of his own words that he uttered on 16 September 2003, while, as Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he was launching the eleventh conference on the state of politics in Tanzania which discussed conflict resolutions. He then said:
“…I am aware that the process of identifying the conflict can not be very useful if it does not go with resolute action. When early signs of conflicts are received, they can not help in resolution if this is done in a bureaucratic and stalling manner that leads to procrastination. Thus the indications of conflict should be used in conflict prevention by immediately translating them into action. The key phrase here should be “the first indication of conflict plus action equals conflict resolution.” In order to do this we need to hasten or adjust the process of decision making so that early indications can be turned into action as soon as possible.”
Decisions taken by his own party through a sitting that he chaired do not show that he is implementing the advice that he gave to others in 2003. This is because the decisions of NEC represent the ‘stalling and procrastination’ which, as he said, can not help in resolving a conflict. It is sad that while President Jakaya Kikwete told Tanzanians and the world that he succeeded in bringing to the table President Mwai Kibaki and Hon Raila Odinga of Kenya and helped in bringing about reconciliation in that country, yet he fails to do the same in his own country and within a party that he is leading by reconciling it with CUF. President Jakaya Kikwete is proud that Tanzanian troops have led an African Union (AU) contingent in a military operation in the island of Anjouan, yet he fails to lead a political operation for restoration of democracy in Zanzibar Island.
He ought to know that he has tarnished the respect for his office and his personal integrity by failing to implement in practice the pledge that he gave to the people of Tanzania in a speech that he delivered on December 30, 2005 in the Parliament, a pledge that he has reiterated several times to the friends of Tanzania and International Community during his foreign travels whenever he is asked about the long-standing political standoff in Zanzibar.
1. CUF is not prepared to deceive the people of this country by continuing to cooperate with CCM. This is not the style of political work of our party. For CUF, politics is not a mere propaganda, but sincerely and frankly serving the people who put us into power. On these grounds therefore we declare that we shall not go back to the negotiation table in a way CCM wants.
2. CUF calls upon CCM to respect the agreement reached by negotiation teams of both parties. If NEC, as it claims, has really ‘accepted in principle’ the agreement submitted to it then it should approve it to be signed and implemented with immediate effect.
3. In absence of this, CUF is calling upon the friends of Tanzania and International Community to take stern and immediate steps to intervene so that the agreement reached by both parties is signed without delay. After Tanzania itself failed to resolve this long standing crisis, the time is now ripe for the International Community to intervene and appoint a prominent international arbitrator, to make sure that the agreement reaches its logical conclusion and the political crisis in Zanzibar is brought to an end, for the sake of just and lasting peace in the island.
4. CUF calls upon the International Community to avoid a situation of other African countries where a crisis is ignored until it reaches very serious level, before they intervene. The situation in Zanzibar is critical. On the surface it seems to be calm, because the people of Zanzibar and Tanzania had high hope that the negotiations between CCM and CUF would bring about reconciliation, peace and unity. When the agreement fail to reach its logical conclusion due to lack of backing and leadership of the President of Tanzania, then it is necessary for the International Community to enter the fray with determination so as to save Zanzibar and Tanzania from going down the road of other African countries.
5. While we sincerely thank leaders of other political parties, religious leaders, civil society, diplomatic missions and the independent media for the important roles they played in seeing the agreement is reached, CUF would like to urge them to continue with their contribution so that justice is done and the stalemate is resolved peacefully.
6. CUF is calling upon its members and supporters as well as people of Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole to remain calm and peaceful in this difficult period, knowing that CUF will always stand for peace, truth and justice, which will ultimately triumph.
7. By taking lightly these very serious issued that affect the interest of the nation, just like it has been doing with other important issues, it is obvious that CCM has lost moral credibility and credentials to lead this nation, and so the time has come for the people to elect a serious party that will give our nation a serious and sincere leadership that it deserves.
‘EQUAL RIGHTS TO ALL’
SEIF SHARIF HAMAD
SECRETARY GENERAL – CUF
Dar es Salaam
01 April, 2008