The announcement in the centre of Zanzibar’s Stone Town capital on Tuesday brought thousands of pro-government supporters onto the narrow streets waving flags, dancing and celebrating.
“I announce officially that Amani Abeid Karume is re-elected president,” Electoral Commission chairman Masauni Yusuf Masauni said, unveiling the third ruling party win in a row on former slave-trading islands long seen by the opposition as a hotbed of electoral fraud.
Masauni said the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party won 239,832 votes versus 207,773 votes for the main opposition party in the presidential race on Sunday.
The main opposition Civic United Front (CUF) had earlier claimed victory and had said a Karume win could only be the product of rigging by what it called power-hungry officials on the spice islands off the east coast of Africa .
CUF officials said Seif Sharif Hamad, their candidate for the Zanzibar presidency, won by a narrow margin of 50.38% of the vote versus 49.62% for the government.
Lipumba and Hamad both promised peaceful street demonstrations if the result was “cooked up” to deny them.
Zanzibar’s main opposition party later dismissed the re-election of Karume as fraudulent and urged the international community to prevent what it called a political crisis.
“Once again the democratisation process in Tanzania has
failed in Zanzibar,” Civic United Front (CUF) National President
Ibrahim Lipumba, said on Tuesday shortly after the Electoral Commission announced a victory for Karume in Sunday’s poll.
“We appeal to the international community not to turn a
In a volatile poll sullying Tanzania’s reputation as one of Africa’s most stable nations, CUF had sought to oust CCM, in office since a 1964 revolution.
Voting on Sunday was marred by violent clashes between rival supporters and security forces.
Skirmishes continued on Monday. And again at daybreak on Tuesday police using dozens of tear gas rounds sought to disperse groups of opposition supporters gathered in the narrow alleys near their party headquarters in historic Stone Town.
A CUF spokesman said security forces had killed five opposition supporters in poll-related unrest on the archipelago’s Pemba island, but police had no immediate comment on the allegation.
The government said the opposition was provoking chaos and had incited supporters by “illegally” claiming victory.
Police fired tear gas canisters
From dawn on Tuesday, reporters saw police beat and fire tear gas canisters at CUF supporters, some of whom taunted them, threw stones and burned tyres in the streets.
Red Cross aid workers said they ferried at least 30 injured people, some of whom had been hit by rubber bullets, to nearby hospitals.
Shops were shut and tourists in the normally popular seafront Stone Town on Unguja island were nowhere to be seen.
The opposition says vote-rigging in the mainly Muslim islands of one million people denied it victory twice before.
The government – whose supporters say the foreign community favours the opposition – has held Zanzibar since a 1964 revolt against Arab rule and says it guarantees peace.
Its roots are socialist and it allowed a multi-party system in Tanzania in 1992.
Two past Zanzibar polls were also marred by violence, including 35 deaths after the 2000 vote.