Betrayal of Popular Hopes

Without comprehensive independent verification of names, photographs and thumb – prints, the PVR compiled by ZEC is not a credible document and thus is unacceptable to CUF. As such it is useless as a basis for elections or for political consensus in Zanzibar. The PVR as it is now stands for Permanent Vote Rigging.


The general election in Zanzibar on Sunday October 30, 2005 was not free and fair. The Civic United Front does not recognize the results of the election and does not recognise the government of Amani Karume and Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM – Party of the Revolution)

The general election of October 30 in Zanzibar was comprehensively flawed, from the registration process to the voting and the counting of votes and announcing of results.

Registration and the Permanent Votes Register

The PVR was not distributed to all parties ahead of the election despite numerous requests, and CUF contested the election of October 30th without a copy of the voters register.

When finally given a copy on November 7th, it quickly became apparent that the PVR was seriously flawed. The PVR was the source of most irregularities and the cornerstone of the government’s rigging strategy was the Permanent Voters Register. The many concerns which CUF raised about the PVR in August 2005 have still not been addressed, even after the so – called ‘verification’ of the Register which was funded by the donors. These problems, among others, are:

  • known multiple registrations
  • known illegal registrations of non – residents including security forces
  • known illegal registrations of minors
  • proven over – registration of over 30,000 names
  • the denial of the right to register to at least 12,000 legitimate voters

CUF complained about people who had registered twice in August when the PVR was displayed for public scrutiny. Those people are still in the PVR and registered at least twice. CUF has apprehended people with more than one voting card with the same photo and different names.

Minors identified by CUF in August and brought to the attention of ZEC and the press are still in the PVR.

Sana Express, one of the property burnt by CCM militia, Janjaweed, at Saateni (Urban Distict, Unguja) on the eve of PVR 2005

Sana Express, one of the property burnt by CCM militia, Janjaweed, at Saateni (Urban Distict, Unguja) on the eve of PVR 2005

ZEC’s final figures for registered voters show that registered voters in South and North Unguja exceed the 2002 census population by 31,197; up to 34% more people registered than are actually resident.

Without comprehensive independent verification of names, photographs and thumb – prints, the PVR compiled by ZEC is not a credible document and thus is unacceptable to CUF. As such it is useless as a basis for elections or for political consensus in Zanzibar. The PVR as it is now stands for Permanent Vote Rigging.

CUF is shocked that CCM and ZEC have treated the Muafaka process and the goodwill and financial assistance of the donor community with such contempt. After all the efforts of Zanzibaris, political parties, UNDP and foreign friends of Tanzania to put together a credible permanent voters list, such an outcome is not only politically unacceptable, dangerous for stability and political harmony in Zanzibar but also an insult to everyone who took part in the exercise.

Zanzibar Electoral Commission

Administratively speaking, ZEC managed the distribution of materials and the setting up of polling stations well, and in Pemba there was no controversy. However, in Unguja problems were many:

  • ZEC staff co–operating with and taking orders from CCM agents and security forces
  • ZEC staff facilitating or ignoring multiple and illegal voting
  • ZEC staff not checking off names or inking thumbs of people who had voted
  • ZEC staff with holding results forms.
  • ZEC staff obstructing CUF agents in their duties and refusing to obey the law

Further, as highlighted by CUF in October 2004, ZEC personnel were hired exclusively on the recommendation of CCM and the CCM government. Returning Officers and their Assistants were almost uniformly CCM officials, supporters or government employees with a history of disrupting elections, breaking the law and undermining democratic procedures.

Following the results, the CUF members of the ZEC disassociated themselves from the Commission and its work in rigging the election. They were not involved in the decision making of the Commission and were obstructed in their duties by the staff and other members who were clearly taking orders from outside the ZEC.

Security forces and Human Rights Abuses

The excessive numbers of security forces from all the myriad branches of the Union and Zanzibar governments intimidated votes and in many cases actually prevented from exercising their democratic rights. In at least three places they beat citizens, fired tear gas and fired live ammunition into the air.

More importantly, they played an active part in transporting illegal and multiply registered voters between polling stations and in providing protection for them to them to break the law vote vote more than once. In many places they voted more than once themselves and often in uniform and while armed.

Following the election and lasting up to a week after the inauguration of Amani Karume, state security forces conducted a campaign of terror and repression against CUF supporters. Pemban residents suffered particularly acutely. Thousands of CUF supporters were held hostage in and around CUF headquarters in the 3 days following the election without food and water, hundreds were beaten and tortured in custody and two died from their beatings. On Pemba, 200 refugees fled to Kenya as a result of the campaign, CUF MPs were beaten up, several women were raped, and a young boy was shot dead in cold blood. The security presence in Zanzibar during the election has been compared by some international observers to the Palestinian West Bank under Israeli occupation, and in terms of numbers of security personnel to civilians such a comparison is very credible.

The record of the security in toto is a discredit to Tanzania and should leave no one in any doubt as to the oppressive and dictatorial nature of the regimes in Zanzibar and the mainland.

Multiple and Illegal Voting

Supervised and assisted by security forces and ZEC officials, large numbers of CCM youths (Janjaweed) voted in more than one place and voted multiple times in each of those locations. Many CCM supporters were registered more than once and even those who were not, participated in numerous schemes to rig the ballot. These included:

  • Voting with inked thumbs
  • Voting mote than once in a polling station
  • Voting in many polling stations
  • Voting with cards belonging to other people
  • Voting with no card at all
  • Minors voting
  • Non – residents voting

People Denied the Right to Vote

CCM and ZEC had a deliberate strategy to spoil the names of CUF voters on the registers so that their names would be unrecognizable. This led to a number of problems:

  • Many people with voting cards went to vote but were told that their names were not on the list.
  • Some found their names on the lists displayed outside polling centres but not in the PVR within.
  • People who disputed their right to vote removed from polling stations by security forces.
  • Legitimate voters told upon arrival by ZEC officials that they had already voted.

ZEC Official Results

On Pemba ZEC proved that it can conduct a professional and uncontroversial election. All CUF agents signed forms and approved the results for Pemba. But on Unguja, many forms were withheld, many were filled in incorrectly and the officially declared results differ in significant ways from the results recorded on the ground bu by ZEC itself and by CUF agents.

Conclusion and Recommendations

CUF is shocked at the contempt which CCM and its governments have shown for the Muafaka and the reconciliation and democratic reform in Zanzibar.

Despite the apparent improvement in the administration of the election (it was not cancelled this time and ballot boxes were not removed by force) the elections of 2005 are no more representative of the wishes of the people of Zanzibar than were earlier elections of 1995 and 2000. Furthermore, in terms of the cumulative and psychological damage to society, to popular commitment to peaceful charge, the impact of a third stolen with have untold consequences for Zanzibar. The nation is entering another dark phase of its history.

The path towards rebuilding trust and confidence in government, the electoral process and the integrity of the rule of law in Zanzibar is difficult to see at present. Preliminary steps for any government interested its domestic and international reputation, justice and the building of a healthy political environment must include:

  1. An independent investigation with an international component to audit the election results and to consider evidence from all parties and make recommendations accordingly
  2. A comprehensive and independent verification of the Permanent Voters Register to remove minors, ghost voters and multiple registered persons
  3. Publishing names of those removed from the PVR
  4. The registration of the 12,000 people denied the right to register and their inclusion in the PVR
  5. Investigation and prosecution of the security forces responsible for looting, beating, raping and killing innocent civilians
  6. Compensation for those who lost belongings and relatives during the state – sponsored violence of 2005

It is now clear beyond doubt that CCM does note want democracy and will do all in its power to prevent Zanzibaris from choosing their own leaders. In such circumstances it is hard to escape the conclusion that the only way to have free and fair elections is to have a process administered by a third party such as the United Nations.

Nevertheless, this flawed election presents many opportunities for learning lessons. Measures necessary to prevent future manipulation of the electoral process and the suppression of democracy include:

  1. Amending the constitution to allow legal challenges to the presidential election results; it should be the same as the process for elections results for other offices.
  2. Cementing the independence and impartiality of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission in law with appointments and procedures agreed by consensus among all parties.
  3. Preventing the security forces from registering while temporarily resident, they should register as residents in their home districts like everyone else. All of the temporarily resident Police and Army units should be expunged from the PVR.
  4. Publishing all results by polling stations and releasing by ZEC of results publicly upon receipt, as is the practice in many other countries.



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