Government and politics in Zanzibar

Government and politics in Zanzibar
Zanzibar has a government of national unity, with the current president of Zanzibar being Ali Mohamed Shein, since 1 November 2010.
As a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, Zanzibar has its own government, known as the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. It is made up of the Revolutionary Council and House of Representatives.

12 Jan 2004: President Karume of Zanzibar enters Amani Stadion for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Zanzibar's 1964 revolution.

The House of Representatives has a similar composition to the National Assembly of Tanzania: There are 50 members from electoral constituencies, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms; 10 members appointed by the President of Zanzibar; 15 special seats for women; 5 Regional commissioners; and an attorney-general. Five of these 81 members are then elected to represent Zanzibar in the National Assembly of Tanzania.

Unguja comprises three administrative regions: Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North and Zanzibar Urban/West. Pemba has two: Pemba North and Pemba South.

There are many political parties in Zanzibar, but the main Parties are the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Civic United Front (CUF). Since the early 1990s, the politics of the archipelago have been marked by repeated clashes between these two political parties. Contested elections in late 2000 led to a massacre in Zanzibar in January 2001 when the government shot into crowds of protestors, killing 35 and injuring 600. Violence erupted again in 2005 after another contested election, with the CUF claiming that its rightful victory had been stolen from them. Following 2005, negotiations between the two parties aiming at the long-term resolution of the tensions and a power-sharing accord took place, but they suffered repeated setbacks. The most notable of these took place in April 2008, when the CUF walked away from the negotiating table following a CCM call for a referendum to approve of what had been presented as a done deal on the power-sharing agreement.

In October 2009, the former president of Zanzibar, Amani Abeid Karume, met with CUF secretary Seif Sharif Hamad, who is currently the first vice president of Zanzibar, at the State House to discuss how to save Zanzibar from future political turmoil and to end the backlash between them, a move which was welcomed by many people including the USA and political parties. It was the first time since the multi-party system was introduced in Zanzibar that CUF agreed to recognize Karume as the legitimate president of Zanzibar.

The relationship between Zanzibar government and Tanzanian Mainland hasn't been so good in recent years since Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda's remark about the Isles' strong sovereignty that Zanzibar is not an independent country outside the Union Government, within which it can only exercise its sovereignty.[13] Members from both the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) disagreed with Mr Pinda's interpretation and stand firmly in recognizing Zanzibar as a fully autonomous and full state, the move which is widely unrecognized by the formation of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania which raises a backlash between Members of Parliament from the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

In 2008, Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete tried to silence the matter when he addressed the nation in a live conference by saying that Zanzibar is a state internal but semi-state international.

A proposal to amend Zanzibar’s laws to allow rival parties to form governments of national unity was adopted by 66.4 per cent of voters, after official results of a referendum which was held on 31 July 2010.

Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairman said 293,039 (or 71.9 per cent) out of 407,667 people registered for the referendum actually turned up at polling stations across the Isles to cast their votes. He said a total of 284,318 valid votes were cast, with 188,705 (or 66.4 per cent) voting YES for a Government of National Unity and 95,613 opposed to the proposition and 8,721 were spoilt.
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