CUF COMPLAINS OVER RIGHTS ABUSE
Eastern Africa News, Dec.14
The Civic United Front (CUF) has accused the authorities of frustrating the country's democratization process through rampant human rights abuse against opposition, especially in the Isles. In letters sent out to international organisations, the party accuses the government of maliciously harassing its members including torturing and detaining them arbitrarily.
Copies of the letters were dispatched to the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the European Union, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and Amnesty International. Also contacted are retired president Julius Nyerere and several religious organisations in the country. The CUF secretary general Shaaban Mloo says he was sounding the alarm at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was marked last week.
The party condemns the union government for alleged gross violation of human rights in the country, particularly Zanzibar through persistent abuses of human rights involving torture,detention, arbitrary arrests and unfair trial of the eighteen treason case in the Isles. "We call upon all the concerned parties to exert pressure to the Union government and the Revolutionary government of Zanzibar to make them change their negative political attitude towards their own people," says Mloo.
According to Sauti ya Tanzania Zanzibar, the party vice chairman said CCM stood a better chance to continue ruling because it was the party which had "vision" and "direction" to bring unity, solidarity and delivery the goods to the people. Dr Amour said many political parties had lacked policies that would unite the people and mobilise them to stimulate development for the benefit of the nation.
He challenged CCM cadres not to be swayed by political reforms taking
place in the country and instead they should stand united to consolidate
their party ready for the next elections. Dr Amour who is also the Isles
president, reiterated that Zanzibar's political atmosphere was stable adding
that there was no political harassment or intimidation as reported by some
of the media.
A Zanzibar court has given the prosecution in the treason case facing 18 leaders and members of the main opposition party, Civic United Front (CUF), 60 days to conclude investigations. The magistrate Abraham Mwampashi, said the conclusion of the investigation would enable the court forward the case to the High Court for trial. "Your have 60 days to conclude your investigation so that the file of the case can be sent to the High Court for trial, Mwampashi said.
Mwampashi was responding to complaints made by the defence counsel on the delay of the police investigation. He said he gave the order because the prosecution had failed to give convincing reasons to prolong the investigation. He said the court had told the prosecution to state when they would conclude their investigations on the case but the response was not definite.
"Final reports on our investigations are always submitted to the
the attorney-general. At this moment, I cannot comment any further on arrests
of CUF leaders because my office is not yet directed to make such a
follow-up," said DCI.
"If they want to arrest us we are ready to go to the police station
own. They may not even have to bother to find where we are," explained Mloo.
He said the Zanzibar Attorney General may just mention their names and order
them to report to the police. They currently cannot report to law enforcers
because they have not been officially summoned.
He said many things were making the attorney-general inefficient. "The
problem with these people of CCM is that they think anybody who is not their
member is their enemy. And this gives them an opportunity to go on hugging
bribe takers simply because they come from their party," he elaborated.
The CCM has been pondering proposals for seats in the Zanzibar House
Representatives, as requested by the main Isles opposition Civic United Front
(CUF). The sources said that other counter proposals were centred on a fresh
formation of the Isles' National Electoral Commission and the appointment of
regional commissioners in Zanzibar.
Last month, Chief Anyaoku postponed his mediation deal, giving more time
CCM to work and submit its final position on the on-going political squabble
"There won't be any sharing of power to form a coalition government
CCM and CUF in Zanzibar," Dr Omar stressed when he opened a two-day seminar
for CCM leaders from Unguja and Pemba held at the House of Representatives
hall in Wete, Pemba.
The seminar was conducted under the chairmanship of the CCM vice-chairman
(Zanzibar), Dr Salmin Amour, who is also the Zanzibar President. Dr Omar said
that the efforts of the Commonwealth secretary General were aimed at creating
an enabling environment for multi-party democracy on the isles.
"Just like all other conflicts happening around the world, chief
the responsibility of listening to each side and then making a draft of
proposals on arbitration which he has already done. He also reiterated that
there was neither an individual nor an external organisation that could end
the political crisis in Zanzibar without its residents recognising the
importance of ending the crisis.
"I therefore, put forward a challenge to CCM and government leaders
refrain from opposing a situation which would remove politics, of hate,
vengeance and immoral confrontations in the society," Dr Omar said. He said
that he welcomed the news that CUF had accepted chief Anyaoku's proposals on
ending the political stand-off if Zanzibar was to achieve socio-economic
Anyaoku said the CCM committee would make its recommendations by October 10. In the meantime, he had recalled his special envoy to Zanzibar, Moses Anafu, to London. Anafu has been in Tanzania since June. Zanzibar has faced political deadlock since Salmin Amour was narrowly elected in October 1995 for a second term as president of the islands, which form half of the Tanzanian union. The CUF refused to accept the result and boycotted Zanzibar's legislative assembly, now dominated by Amour's CCM party.
Donor countries have refused to grant new aid to the islands in protest against the election result and a wave of political repression against CUF supporters that followed. In August, CUF said it had accepted the Commonwealth proposals and was ready to sign an agreement with the ruling party to end the impasse, blaming CCM for a delay in ending the crisis. Analysts said despite the delay it was likely both sides would sign the agreement because of pressure from the international community and Tanzanian union President Benjamin Mkapa.
The key point in the agreement would be the return of CUF to parliament. It does not say anything about whether CUF would recognise Amour as president -- although this is a demand CUF now says it is willing to forego. Political analysts said the return of CUF would mean CCM would no longer hold the two-thirds majority required to amend the constitution. This would effectively bar Amour from seeking a third term in the general election scheduled for 2000.
Zanzibar's twin islands joined Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United
Republic of Tanzania.