Zanzibar vote annulled over ‘violations’

Zanzibar maintains a political union with Tanzania, but has its own parliament and president

Zanzibar maintains a political union with Tanzania, but has its own parliament and president

Elections on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar have been annulled for not being free and fair, the chairman of the islands’ electoral commission has announced.

Jecha Salum Jecha said youths had invaded polling stations, votes had been tampered with and electoral commissioners had exchanged blows.

The majority of criticisms were levelled at the vote on Pemba Island.

Zanzibaris voted in local and national elections on Sunday.

The elections in Tanzania are the most competitive in the country’s history, with four opposition parties forming the Ukawa coalition.

Previous elections have turned violent on Zanzibar, which is made up of the islands of Unguja and Pemba and is a popular with tourists.

The BBC’s Sammy Awami in Zanzibar says tension has been rising on the islands over the last few days but so far there has been no violence.

There has been a heavy security presence and some streets have been closed, he says.

Officials stopped announcing results on Tuesday after soldiers stormed the electoral commission compound in Zanzibar and locked people inside for more than three hours.

On Monday, Ukawa candidate Seif Sharif Hamad had declared himself the winner of the Zanzibari presidential poll.

This attracted a sharp rebuke from ruling CCM party officials, who said the declaration was illegal and risked the islands’ stability, our reporter says.

–BBC

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