E-mail from Tanzanian. 19.Nov.'95
DAR ES SALAAM, (Reuter) Nov. 17, By Matt Bigg
Zanzibar's opposition Civic United Front (CUF) said Friday its supporters are being harassed and intimidated by the ruling party which is seeking to consolidate power following elections on the islands.
The governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, Party of the Revolution) denied the charges, which have been reported in newspapers and backed by independent accounts.
A CUF spokesman said some 15,000 people had fled from Zanzibar's main Unguja island and dozens of CUF activists had been arrested.
Several houses belonging to CUF supporters had been burned by members of the CCM youth wing, witnesses said.
Charges were dropped Friday against Juma Othman, a senior CUF member, after a 14-day spell in a Zanzibar prison on charges of treason.
Zanzibar, part of the Tanzanian union, is made up of the islands of Unguja and Pemba.
In parliamentary and presidential elections last month CUF swept all 21 seats on Pemba, while CCM won 26 out of 29 seats on the larger Unguja.
As a result CCM won the election, which was marked by widespread allegations of rigging.
But the elections exposed a political divide between the two islands, with CCM popular on Unguja and CUF supreme on Pemba.
Traditionally, Zanzibar's president chooses a Pemban as chief minister as a gesture of unity between the islands, but Amour named Mohammed Bilal, an Ungujan, to the post and for the first time all cabinet posts except one are held by Ungujans.
In public CCM officials on the Tanzania mainland deny there is any persecution of Pembans.
In private they struggle to defend the behavior of Zanzibari colleagues.
''We will have to offer an olive branch to CUF and draw them in if we are going to win again in Zanzibar,'' one senior mainland official said.
''Salmin (Amour) does not understand that yet and we will have to persuade him.
'' For years Zanzibari politics have been more fiercely contested than on the Tanzanian mainland.
Hundreds died during a revolution on the islands in 1964, the country's first president was assassinated in 1972 and for several years Amnesty International reports on Tanzania have focused on political harassment of CUF activists.
Copyright (c) Reuters America Inc.
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