ACT, CCM trade barbs ahead of 2020 polls

Tuesday December 3 2019

ACT chief advisor Seif Shariff Hamad

ACT chief advisor Seif Shariff Hamad 

By Khalifa Said @ThatBoyKhalifax

Dar es Salaam. ACT-Wazalendo yesterday accused the ruling CCM of hatching a plot to block key members of the opposition party from next year’s General election in Zanzibar.

However, CCM hit back swiftly, saying ACT “is rudderless and desperate”.

“They are like a drowning person who is clutching at straws,” the party’s ideology and publicity secretary in Zanzibar, Ms Catherine Peter Nao, told The Citizen by telephone. Earlier, ACT chief advisor Seif Shariff Hamad said CCM was behind a plot to lock the opposition party’s members out of next year’s elections in Zanzibar.

He told reporters at the party’s sub-office in Unguja that CCM had decided to push a bill through Zanzibar’s House of Representatives that would block aspirants who would have not been members of the parties sponsoring them for at least three years from running in the elections.

“Reliable sources have informed us that the CCM secretary-general held meetings with party stalwarts, and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar was directed to send a bill to the House of Representatives under a certificate of urgency, seeking to amend the Electoral Law that would require aspirants who would like to contest the presidency, House of Representative seats or civic posts to have been members of the political parties sponsoring them for not less than three years before election day,” Mr Hamad said.

Mr Hamad and his followers decamped to ACT-Wazalendo in March 2019 after years of wrangling in their former party, the Civic United Front (CUF). This means that by October 2020, they will have been members of ACT-Wazalendo for only one year and seven months.


But Ms Nao said while it was true that CCM secretary-general Bashiru Ally was in Zanzibar, nothing of the sort claimed by Mr Hamad had been discussed. “It is a blatant lie by a desperate person that we discussed possible amendment of electoral laws,” she said.

Ms Nao’s rebuttal was also echoed by CCM political affairs secretary Ngemela Lubinga, who dismissed Mr Hamad’s remarks as “wild allegations”, adding that he did not wish to give the claims credibility by commenting further.

Mr Hamad also said there were plans to sabotage ACT ahead of next year’s General Election by locking up its leaders on trumped-up charges.

He further said that a plot had been uncovered whereby hired goons were to be sent to vandalise ACT offices in Unguja and Pemba.