Betrayal of Popular Hopes: Media and Security Forces

THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA

Part of the reforms agreed during Muafaka was an agreement that the state media organs: (television, radio and newspaper) would allocate equitable and balanced coverage to opposition and ruling parties. This is important in Zanzibar because the government has banned all other independent media on the islands. Other papers, from the mainland, do circulate but these are often subject to censorship and seized at the port.

Every party was allotted time to air its own party political broadcasts but these were often censored and edited before airing. In one such occasion, a CUF weekly 30 minutes programme on peace and security police was heavily censored and cut to 13 minutes only and thus rendered the whole message meaningless without any flow.

While opposition parties had to content themselves with their allotted air time, the ruling party also enjoyed near monopoly coverage of the news and other current events programmes durings the election campaign. Not only was most coverage given to the ruling CCM, but presenters often editorialized in their favour.

Television Zanzibar (TVZ) and Voice of Tanzania Zanzibar (STZ) came out with special programmes portaying CCM as a party of peace and stability and CUF as the party of violence and revenge. These programmed, aired almost on daily bases throughout the campaign period, were against the Ethics governing media behaviour agreed to between ZEC, political parties and media institutions in Zanzibar. CUF complained to ZEC but no action was taken to rectify the situation.

The independent research group, MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) monitored the number of seconds allocated to each political party during news sections on state channels and found during the first two weeks of the campaign that CCM had been given 3,000 seconds to CUF’s 300.

Such actions on behalf of the state media do not encourage an atmosphere of consensus and reconciliation. The complete absence of any free press on the islands equally contributes to a hostile and suspicious atmosphere where people feel that they cannot speak their mind and where they are in fact often punished for doing so.

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY FORCES

The numbers of security forces on the islands of Zanzibar during the election is a mojar cause of concern. Large numbers of soldiers, regular police and riot police on the streets of Zanzibar town was a common sight and was reflected in the extensive media coverage of their presence. The numbers of security forces were excessive for a small island like Zanzibar and the actions of the security forces was illegal and brutal in many cases.

During the campaign, CUF had praised the police for their cooperative attitude in policing rallies and communicating with the party when difficulties emerged. However, once polling day arrived, the police were anything but impartial.

All of the security forces played an itegral role in the rigging process. From shepherding and transporting illegal to vote in multiple polling stations, keeping CUF agents out of tallying centres, taking orders from CCM agents in polling stations, voting illegally themselves and beating up and intimidating CUF supporters during the registration process, during the campaign, on polling day and afterwards; and finally keeping CUF leaders and supporters hostage without food and water in Mtendeni for three days unitl after sunset on the Amani Karume was inaugurated.

In order for minors and unregistered people to vote without harassment from residents, for people to vote more than once in many polling stations and for the security forces to vote illegally and multiply, a high level of co- operation between the security forces and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission was required. Observers and CUF agents witnessed more than once, security forces forming corridors for Janjaweed and other security forces to pass from their trucks to the polling stations where they were being ferried to vote illegally so that they could be protected from angry residents who were aware of what was going on.

All of the different branches of the security forces from the Zanzibar and Union governments were complicit in supervising and facilitating illegal and multiple voting.

Janjaweed

The ‘Janjaweed’ have been acknowledged by CCM as part of the party’s youth wing. (CCM Secretary General, Philip Mangula on Channel 10 on October 21st). in television, Mangula said that youth camps existed in every region of Tanzania and their purpose was to train youth in the ideology of CCM. He said he could not account for the behavior of these youth in certain districts.

CUF has evidence which it presented to President Mkapa of CCM youth wing camps being used as training centres for violent operations and as bases for election rigging in the following place:

  • Tunguu, Central District
  • Welezo, West District
  • Kilombero, North ‘B’ District
  • Kigunda, North ‘A’ District
  • Gamba, North ‘A’ District
  • Kaburi Kikombe, Urban District
  • Kitogani, South District

CUF has complained repeatedly in the CCM/CUF Secretary General’s Committee to Philip Mangula and to President Mkapa himself of the existence of these camps because apart from the role of Janjaweed in multiple registration and multiple voting, the political violence carried out by them with the complicity of the security services in the run up to the election was endangering national security and stability. At one point, CCM officials on the mainland privately acknowledged the existence of the Janjaweed but did nothing to curb their activities, claiming that they had no ability to interfere with CCM Zanzibar.

It is likely that other youth wing camps in other regions were used for the same purpose. Intelligence from within CCM puts the total number of Janjaweed present on Unguja during the election at 3,000. If each of these voted an average of five times, that would amount to 15,000 extra, illegal votes. However, in many cases, as detailed below, they voted more than once in each polling station and some voted in up to 20 polling stations. In some cases they voted where they were not registered, but in others they took the place of legitimate registered voters. Thus the true benefit to CCM in terms of votes is probably much higher.

Human Right Abuses on Polling Day

In addition to supervising illegal voting, security forces were used on the day to intimidate and prevent people from reaching polling stations:

  • Bububu primary school where FFU riot police and KMKM coastguard beat people, fired bullet into the air
  • Mwanyanya, Bububu KMKM intimidated and beat voters and fired tear gas at the polling stations and fired bullets into the air. Several voters ran away in fear for their safety.
  • Mtoni School, Mtoni, residents were dragged from their homes and beaten where soldiers believed them responsible for blocking a road that was being used to ferry illegal voters to the polling station.

Zanzibar under Military Occupation

Election Observers? Mkapa sent army troops from Mainland to Zanzibar so as to frighten Zanzibaris against their wish

Election Observers? Mkapa sent army troops from Mainland to Zanzibar so as to frighten Zanzibaris against their wish

In accordance with the laws of Tanzania, the responsibility of maintaining law and order lies exclusively with the Police. This was not the case with Zanzibar during the elections. Not only that the Zanzibar government brigades (Anti-Smuggling Unit, KMKM, Economy Building Brigade, JKU, Fire Service, KZU, Volunteer Force, KVZ, and Prison Guards, MFN) were all on the streets beating innocent people severely and brutally but more shockingly even the national army, the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Forces (TPDF), whose duty is to guard our national borders, was deployed to harass and attack innocent Zanzibaris in a plan to intimidate voters. In fact, Zanzibar was placed under military occupation.

President Mkapa defended his move as a Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to put Zanzibar under military occupation when in an answer to a question put to him by a Tanzanian living in Cairo, Egypt, he compared the situation to that of ‘American and British forces in Iraq which have not impaired the desire to conduct free and fair elections there”. In other words, President Mkapa was telling Zanzibaris that his forces in the islands are occupational and discharge their duties as such.

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