Dar es Salaam. Zanzibar Presidential candidate on the ticket of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad reported to the police on Friday, October 30, 2020 as required of him by the law enforcers.
“He has reported and as we are talking, he is still there,” ACT-Wazalendo public relations secretary, Salum Bimani, said on Friday.
Mr Hamad, and Prof Omar Fakih, were arrested by the police on Thursday, October 29 in the morning soon after he had concluded a press conference in Zanzibar.
The arrest came after preliminary results from the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) showed that the CCM presidential candidate Dr Hussein Mwinyi was in the lead.
Police did not give details for the arrest but in a video displayed in social media on Thursday, Maalim Seif – who doubles as ACT’s chairman - was calling on Zanzibaris to meet at Michenzani Street in Unguja to oppose what the party claims to be sabotage of the electoral process.
“In claiming this, I call upon all citizens in Unguja Island, everyone do whatever you can to be at Michenzani right now, all of you without delaying. Whether we leaders will die or be arrested, we are ready for anything,” he said.
After spending several hours behind bars, Mr Hamad and Prof Fakih were released on bail on Thursday but they were required to report to the police station on October 30, 2020.
News about Mr Hamad’s arrest drew condemnation from various people, with the American ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Donald Write demanding his immediate release.
“Detaining opposition leaders is not the act of a government confident in its electoral victory. Maalim Seif and his colleagues should be released immediately,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
ZEC later announced its official results, showing that Dr Mwinyi had won the presidential vote by 76.27 per cent while Mr Hamad was second with 19.87 per cent.
Highest win in Zanzibar’s history
With the results, Dr Mwinyi becomes the first presidential candidate in Zanzibar to garner over 70 per cent of the votes in a competitive election.
In 1995, when he was a candidate for the Civic United Front (CUF), Mr Hamad was narrowly defeated by the then CCM candidate, Salmin Amour when he (Hamad) secured 49.76 percent of the votes against Salmin Amour’s 50.24 percent.
In the 2000 elections, Mr Hamad was again defeated by CCM’s Amani Abeid Karume when the former polled 32.96 percent against 67.04 percent of the latter in elections that were widely condemned by observers and which resulted into the killings of CUF members in Pemba.
Official results for the October 2005 elections put Mr Hamad at 46.07 percent against Mr Karume's 53.18 percent.
When Mr Hamad ran against CCM’s Dr Ali Mohammed Shein in October 2010, the results were 49.1 percent for Mr Hamad and 50.1 percent of Dr Shein.
The two went on to form a Government of National Unity in line with an amended constitution as leaders sought to end animosity in the conduct of elections in the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean Archipelago.
Mr Hamad thus became the first First Vice President of Zanzibar.
In 2015, the ZEC cancelled the elections for unclear reasons and Mr Hamad – who believe the poll was cancelled because he had won against the CCM candidate - refused to participate in the rerun of the election which brought Dr Shein back to power.
At the announcement of the results yesterday, Mr Hamad was the only missing face, because he was still in police custody.
Second arrest in two days
Thursday’s was the second time for Maalim Seif to be arrested by the Police.
He was first arrested on October 27 in the morning when he visited the Garagara polling station in Unguja. October 27, 2020 was set aside by ZEC as special day of casting votes for security forces and ZEC officials.
All leaders arrested
The ACT-Wazalendo party leader, Zitto Kabwe took to his twitter page on Thursday, saying of leaders for his party in Zanzibar had been arrested. Some of them, he said, had been assaulted.
“Police have arrested the whole ACT leadership in Zanzibar and one of the leaders was beaten to near death. We are not sure if he is still alive and he is in custody,” tweeted Zitto.
Earlier, Zitto tweeted on the arrest of Nassor Mazrui who is Deputy Secretary General of the party and Zanzibar campaign manager for 2020 elections.
According to Mr Bimani, seven other party officials were arrested including Mr Hamad’s personal secretary, Issa Kheri Hussein.