Unguja/Dares Salaam. ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe said Thursday the aim of teaming up with former Civic United Front (CUF) secretary-general Seif Shariff Hamad was not to stoke political tensions, but to peacefully fight for the rights of ordinary Tanzanians.
Speaking in Unguja, he said it was both wrong and unreasonable to claim that the decision was aimed at disrupting peace and cause chaos in the country.
Mr Kabwe added that ACT-Wazalendo is a peace-loving party, which abides by the law and respects the rights of others.
He said this is not the time to engage the government in a shouting match about “trivial matters”, adding that the party’s focus is on attracting more members to boost its profile and status.
This is why ACT-Wazalendo leaders will visit various areas in Zanzibar, beginning with a four-day tour of Pemba before moving to Unguja, Mr Kabwe, who is also the Kigoma Urban MP, said.
Party leaders will speak to new members and present them with membership cards during the visits.
“I’m asking Zanzibaris not to break the law in any way. This is crucial to our plan to attain our political goals,"Mr Kabwe said.
He added, however, that ACT-Wazalendo’s position of not recognising the Zanzibar government has not changed.
"ACT has time and again made it amply clear that it doesn’t recognise Zanzibar’s seventh phase government due to flagrant violation of the law and basic rights during the elections which put it in power," Mr Kabwe said, adding that Zanzibar is should remain calm as ACT-Wazalendo embarks on a struggle to restore the rule of law and genuine democracy in Zanzibar.
Meanwhile, CUF youth wing leaders announced their defection to ACT-Wazalendo, saying their decision was aimed at strengthening the opposition for the benefit of the entire nation.
The wing’s vice former chairperson, Ms Aisha Said, was among several former CUF members who were presented with ACT-Wazalendo membership cards in Makubusho, Dar es Salaam, on Thursday. Others included the wing’s former director of planning and elections, Mr Anderson Ndambo, and the director of information and public communication, Mr Abeid Khamis Bakari.
Mr Bakari earlier told journalists that they would surrender more than 1,000 CUF membership cards, whose holders will join ACT-Wazalendo.
"We thank ACT-Wazalendo for accepting us. We are here to strengthen this party’s youth wing and breathe new life into the opposition in general,” he said.
For her part, Ms Said told reporters that she had resigned from all her positions within CUF and joined ACT-Wazalendo, adding that party youth should expect to be harassed as they fight for democracy.
ACT-Wazalendo youth leader Bakari Likapo said the arrival of Mr Hamad and former CUF youth had come at an opportune moment.
"Tanzania has many political parties, but Seif chose ACT-Wazalendo. This is a huge endorsement of this party, and will give the struggle for democracy in our country fresh impetus,” he said.