Dar es Salaam. In yesterday’s edition we read about how Dr Salmin Amour’s attempt to change the Constitution of Zanzibar so he could remain in power was rejected by CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
After the rejection, CCM remained with two tasks: first, how to control all those who had initiated and backed the flopped proposal which had almost divided the party into two; and, second, sorting out who would be the successor of Dr Salmin ahead of the 2000 polls.
On March 2, hardly three days after NEC’s decision of rejecting the proposal, the echo of a crisis on changing the Constitution started to grow louder.
President Benjamin Mkapa made a minireshuffle of his Cabinet of ministers by shifting Home Affairs minister Ali Ameir Mohamed to the Office of the Prime Minister and his position filled by Muhammed Seif Khatib.
Ameir’s action of publicly stepping forward to campaign for Dr Salmin showed that he was not in the same line with his boss, President Mkapa.
For his part, Khatib was among members of CCM’s Special Commit-tee that met at Kisiwandui in Zanzibar to deliberate on the question of whether or not to change Zanzibar’s Constitution.
However, he stood firm and rejected the idea on the grounds that the party’s policy did not allow a president to remain in office for more than two terms of five years each.
I never spoke about seeking presiden-tial re-election Dr SalminOn Saturday April 22, 2000, Dr Salmin was interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about his intention of changing the Constitution of Zanzibar so he could be re-elected for a third term.
“I never spoke about seeking re-election in Zanzibar after ending my tenure of office. But that information was driven by the media... which helped owners of newspapers to make business as each passing day the issue was about Dr Salmin,” he claimed.
Aspirants seeking nomination several aspirants stepped forward to vie for CCM nomination to con-test Zanzibar presidency during the October 2000 polls.
The first was Zanzibar’s Deputy Finance Minister Abdisalaam Issa Khatib, who picked the forms on May 4.
On the following day, May 5, Zanzibar’s Communications and Trans-port minister Amani Abeid Karume also picked forms as did Balozi Ahmed Hassan Diria on the same day.
On May 7, the former adviser to president of Zanzibar (sports), Mohamed Raza, also announced to pick forms to contest for the presidency as Munassa Sabi Munassa also did the same.
On Wednesday, May 10, Zanzibar’s Finance minister Amina Salum Ally announced to join the race.She said: “The presidency is not only for men... I never felt being segregated just because I’m a woman. They (men) and I are the same,” said Amina.
On May 19, hardly two days before the deadline of picking forms to vie for the presidency of Zanzibar on the CCM ticket, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal announced to collect forms and then hired a plane that took him to Pemba to search for trustees.
Balozi Diria backs out of presidential race However, on Monday, June 5, Balozi Diria announced to pull out of the presidential race.
“After a long discussion with those close to me, I have decided to remove my name because of one major reason: To pro-tect and perpetuate the unity of Chama Cha Mapinduzi and as well the national unity of the United Republic of Tanzania,” said Balozi Diria.
The withdrawal of Balozi Diria came when the Central Committee of CCM Zanzibar was discussing the names of presidential nominees before those names were presented at a NEC meeting in Dodoma for the final decision.
Before his withdrawal, Balozi Diria faced a rough time at a meeting in Zanzibar in which he was, among other things, required to state his nationality and that of his deceased father before party secretariat.
His father was claimed not to be a Zanzibari. In the meeting that was held at the Kisiwandui CCM mini office in Zanzibar, votes were cast and Balozi Diria collected only three out of 74 cast.
Mohamed Raza,38, also decided to withdraw his name from the presi-dential race of Zanzibar. CCM Secretary General, Philip Mangula, was quoted as saying, “Before the task of screening names started in the relevant meetings, another member, Ndugu Mohamed Raza, withdrew his name on his own accord.”
After Raza backed out, only four aspirants remained in the presiden-tial race. They were Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Abdisalaam Issa Khatib, Amani Abeid Karume and Amina Salum Ali.
Presidential contestants named On June 6, the Central Committee (CC) of CCM screened and picked four names from among the aspirants for the presidency of Zanzibar on CCM ticket, whereby the names were then presented before NEC on June 9 in Dodoma Region.
Two days before the NEC meeting, there were four groups each supporting a contestant. But, as time passed, the group that supported Amina was overwhelmed by the other three.
Until noon, one day before the final nomination of the presidential contestant, the wind of change following midnight strategies and campaigns had weakened one more group such that only two strong groups remained for the race.
Of the two strong groups, one was supported by Dr Salmin. This was Dr Bilal’s group.
The other camp was formed by mostly youthful CCM members who backed Karume. Amani picked to vie for Zanzibar Presidency On June 9, NEC meeting was held in Dodoma, where Amani Karume was picked to vie for the presidency of Zanzibar on CCM ticket. Before the announcement, Amani Karume sensed that he had been picked the presidential flagbearer of the CCM shortly after NEC members came out of the meeting for lunch. Some mobbed him seeking to hug him as others wanted to take photos with him.
Karume emerged the victor after collecting 111 out of 196 votes cast, defeating his three opponents. Karume’s victory was equivalent to 56.63 percent.
Briefing reporters on the results of the voting, Mr Mangula said Zanzi-bar’s Chief Minister, Dr Bilal, got 61 votes, Abdisalaam raked in 15 votes and Amina collected 9.
Mangula explained that there were a total of 211 members of NEC, but those who attended the meeting numbered 196. However, he said no vote was spoiled in the voting.
Zanzibar’s presidential contest-ant on the CUF ticket, Seif Sharif Hamad, congratulated CCM’s NEC for picking Amani Karume as his challenger.Mr Hamad said he congratulated NEC because the latter had smoothened the way for him (Hamad) to win a landslide victory towards State House during the year.
“I know Mr Amani Karume well. He is an upright person, who respects the rights of other people and he can follow the laws of the land and care about democracy on the islands, whose residents are now in fear of demanding for their rights because of the dictatorial leadership,” said Seif.
The CUF leader added that the NEC decision had allayed the wor-ries of the residents of Zanzibar and let put aside President Salmin who stood for Chief Minister Dr Bilal.
“If I were Dr Salmin, I would not return to Zanzibar because of a dis-grace of facing NEC members, who decided to focus their thoughts and intelligence on true democracy in Zanzibar,” added Seif Shariff Hamad.
Speaking to reporters shortly after being announced the victor, Karume thanked CCM for picking him as its presidential flagbearer, saying that the stage he had reached was tre-mendous.
“From here, we now move back to Zanzibar as one thing so we can get prepared for the October 29 General Election,” said Karume.
When asked about whether he feared groups that were defeated in the nomination process within the party, he responded that CCM had no such groups.
He said what was needed for them was to have functional campaign issues and that they were becoming one thing since his party was mature.
The task that was awaiting Mr Karume now was to make campaigns for the October 29 2000 polls. Tomorrow, we are going to focus on how the race in the polls began within CCM.