Obama lauds Tanzania for successful Zanzibar vote

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 9:49 pm

President Barack Obama

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 09:27

By The Citizen Reporter

US President Barack Obama has commended Tanzania following the successful holding of the referendum that will pave way for the formation of a government of national unity in Zanzibar.

However, a State House statement yesterday quoted President Obama as cautioning that much work remains to be done as the October 31 General Election approaches.

The US Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Alfonso E. Lenhardt, delivered Mr Obama’s message to President Jakaya Kikwete, according to the statement.

“On behalf of the people of the United States, I extend my congratulations to you, Zanzibar’s leaders, the people of Zanzibar, and all Tanzanians on the successful July 31, 2010 power sharing referendum,” Mr Obama said.

The US President said he recalled discussing President Kikwete’s commitment to promoting reconciliation and the rule of law in Zanzibar during their meeting at the White House on May 21, 2009.

“It is heartening that just over a year later, your leadership and the collective resolve of the Zanzibar National Electoral Commission, civil society members, religious community and political parties resulted in significant progress towards a lasting peace, culminating in the credible two thirds majority vote for the unity government.

“I am confident that with your continued leadership and ongoing commitment by the people of Zanzibar to peaceful progress a bright future lies ahead,” Mr Obama said.

Zanzibaris opened a new chapter on July 31 by overwhelmingly endorsing proposed constitutional changes that will pave the way for the formation of a government of national unity later this year.

Some 188,705 voters who cast their ballots in the referendum voted in favour of the proposal, while 95,613 rejected it.  

The proponents of a government of national unity carried the day with 66.4 per cent of the vote, as opposed to 33.6 per cent of voters who voted ‘No’.

Some 293,039 people, or 71.9 per cent of registered voters, voted in the referendum.  There were 8,721 (3 per cent) spoilt votes.

A power-sharing government will be formed after the October 31 elections, and will include the President from the wining party, First-Vice President from the second-placed party and Second Vice-President from the wining party.

The Second-Vice President will be the leader of government business in the House of Representatives.

The cabinet will comprise ministers from all political parties depending on the number of seats they will secure in the elections.

Meanwhile, CCM’s candidate for the Zanzibar presidency, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, said yesterday there would be no room for self-centred people in the government if he is elected on October 31.

“Should I be elected to become Zanzibar’s President, I will not entertain selfish, spiteful and power-hungry individuals because they will lead to chaos which we are trying to avert,” he senior CCM officials at Bwawani Hotel.

He pledged to unite Zanzibaris and ensure that they lived live in peace, love and harmony, regardless of their political affiliations.

Dr Shein, who will today collect nomination forms from the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, said good governance and the rule of law would define his administration.

He urged CCM leaders to work closely with him and ensure it wins in the October elections.

The party’s deputy secretary general in Zanzibar, Mr Saleh Ramadhan Ferouz, echoed Dr Shein’s sentiments, noting that time was ripe for party zealots to end divisions that cropped up during the nomination process, and cooperate with nominees in the run-up to the elections.

“There is no reason for us to brood over the outcome of the nominations…it’s time we stood together and wholeheartedly support Dr Shein and other nominees because this is the only way we can ensure that the party emerges victorious in the elections,” he said.

Source: The Citizen



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