CCM and ACT Wazalendo, who also serve as partner parties in the Zanzibar Government of National Unity, are embroiled in a heated exchange of words regarding alleged irregularities in the Mtambwe by-election.
The by-election for Mtambwe was called following the passing of the Mtambwe representative, Habib Ali Mohammed, on March 3, 2023. This by-election, which took place on October 31, 2023, saw Mohammed Ali Suleiman of ACT Wazalendo emerge as the winner with 2,449 votes out of the total 4,045 votes cast. He outperformed three other candidates, including Hamad Khamis Hamad (CCM) with 1,531 votes, Said Nassor Hemed (CUF) with 43 votes, and Mohamed Masoud Rashid (CHAUMMA) with 22 votes.
However, on November 6, 2023, ACT Wazalendo’s national leaders alleged that the election was riddled with irregularities. Some of the issues cited by ACT Wazalendo include the illegal inclusion of new voters in the voter register. The party also claims that ballots were provided to CCM members before the election, and Zanzibar Electoral Commission officials were involved in tampering with votes cast in favor of ACT Wazalendo.
Zitto Kabwe expressed his concerns, saying, “The Mtambwe election provides undeniable evidence that Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi is preparing to cause chaos and the killing of innocent civilians in Zanzibar in 2025.”
The Zanzibar Electoral Committee, through its chairperson Judge George Joseph, has denied these claims of irregularities, asserting that the parties are well aware of the election processes.
The ruling party, CCM, led by its Ideology and Publicity Secretary, Khamisi Mbeto, has vehemently denounced ACT Wazalendo’s statements and contended that the party’s complaints stemmed from their realization of declining support in Mtwambwe.
“I strongly condemn the statements made by Zitto Kabwe; he has issued allegations without any supporting evidence. We conducted a very civil political campaign, reaching out to all 43 villages of Mtambwe, house by house,” Mbeto stated in a press release.
Mbeto proceeded to present CCM’s rebuttals to the allegations raised by ACT Wazalendo. He refuted the claim that CCM members received votes prior to the election, emphasizing that it was impractical to determine party affiliations since no one arrived in party uniforms.
Furthermore, the party dismissed the accusation of voter register manipulation, asserting that there had been no alteration of the number of registered voters, and the recorded tally remained consistent throughout the by-election.
In a stern warning, Mbeto cautioned ACT Wazalendo against entertaining thoughts of disrupting peace on the island, reminding them that any such attempts would be dealt with by the appropriate authorities.