Dar es Salaam. The government of Zanzibar, its development partners and political parties will have to raise more than Sh12 billion in the next 90 days to finance fresh elections after those held on October 25 were nullified.
The money includes the amount that was set aside in the 2015/16 Budget as well as what political parties have spent during primaries and campaigns. The cash also include what the parties paid to agents during the actual voting and vote-counting processes and what they spent through transportation and other election-related activities.
Presenting budget estimates for the Financial Year 2015/16 in the Zanzibar House of Representatives on May 13, 2015, Zanzibar Finance Minister Omar Yussuf Mzee said, Sh7.5 billion was set aside for election funding.
“Mr Speaker, we plan to spend Sh42.5 billion during the 2015/16 Financial Year on our committed expenditure projects….Of this amount, Sh7.5 billion is meant for election financing,” Mr Mzee said.
Similarly, each of the two serious political parties in Zanzibar spent at least Sh2 billion during the past few months.
“For our side, we spent at least Sh2 billion on issues pertaining to primaries, transportation, payments to our party agents and other issues pertaining to elections,” the CUF director of communications, Mr Ismail Jussa Ladhu, told The Citizen yesterday.
Considering that CCM might have also spent Sh2 billion—which is however, unlikely—then the amount spent in the annulled elections comes to Sh11.5 billion.
Obviously, the spent amount was more than this since apart from the two serious contenders, there were still a number of small parties that took part in the cancelled elections.
Zanzibar’s total budget for the current financial year stands at Sh830.4 billion of which Sh399 billion is for development expenditure. The Sh12 billion thrown to the dogs is more than what the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago demands to finance its plan for improving education during the current financial year.
According to Mr Mzee, a total of Sh8 billion is required to finance the government’s decision to offer free primary education as well as cater for examination fees at secondary school level.
While good news started trickling down yesterday that peace was returning in Zanzibar, the unshaken fact is that delays in reaching a consensus on the deadlock will have far-reaching ramifications on tourism, a sector that accounts for over 25 per cent in Zanzibar’s Sh2 trillion gross domestic product.