Zanzibar: MEPs content with local actors’ commitment to peaceful elections

Zanzibar: MEPs content with local actors’ commitment to peaceful elections

 
Commitment by Zanzibar political parties, electoral commission, police and civil society towards peaceful and conflict-free conduct of the 25 October general elections in Zanzibar were praised by MEPs and MP’s of Zanzibari Parliament on Friday, following high level parliamentary seminars, held on 2-4 September in Zanzibar, Tanzania, to address concerns about the recurrence of electoral violence around the 25 October 2015 General Elections.
In a joint press statement, distributed after the seminars, David MARTIN (S&D, UK) who led the MEPs delegation said:„I am encouraged by the strong and clear commitment by the political parties, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, and the police to ensuring a peaceful and conflict-free environment around the 25 October General Elections. If their words are followed by deeds this will be a significant investment in consolidating democracy in Zanzibar and will deserve the gratitude of the whole of Tanzania and the wider region. The European Parliament stands ready to further assist this process if required.“

The speaker of the Zanzibar Parliament Mr Pandu Ameir KIFICHO said:

„It gives me great pleasure to see that all the participants at this seminar have the same goal and are ambitious in their commitment to peace and tranquillity in our country. It is very important to ensure that our political and ideological differences should not undermine the existing peace in Zanzibar. Tolerance and security must be advocated and abusive language should be avoided. I expect that through the seminar a high level of peace and harmony will be achieved among Zanzibaris that will help maintain peace and tranquillity in Zanzibar before, during and after the General Elections. Let me finish by saying that the positive commitment to a peaceful electoral process should be implemented by all stakeholders, including the public at large.“

In the adopted conclusion document (attached) the seminar participants stress the crucial role of dialogue to establishing political tolerance, building confidence and demonstrating political good will and recommended:

•              before the elections, the establishment of a domestic mechanism of regular meetings (once or twice a week) between Zanzibar electoral committee, police, political parties, to identify the emerging problems and come up with peaceful solutions. This could be extended to include representatives of civil society incl. the religious leaders (as observers), and

•              after the elections, the creation of reconciliation committees at local and national levels (drawing on the wisdom of the elderly, religious leaders and politically influential leaders). The role of the local committees is particularly important as forums that provide local responses without waiting for the convening of bodies at the national level. (see the full statement in attachment).

Background

The High Level parliamentary seminars on ‚The peaceful conduct of the elections: fostering dialogue and respect in the election campaign and its follow up, inclusive of women and youth‘, took place from 2 to 4 September in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and were convened by Speaker of Zanzibar Parliament (Zanzibar House of Representatives) Pandu Ameir KIFICHO and David MARTIN from the European Parliament .

The purpose of the seminar was to provide space for dialogue between the two main parties, also with a wider audience of other political parties, civil society, media and religious leaders, to address concerns about the recurrence of electoral violence around the 25 October 2015 General Elections.

The European Parliament delegation was led by Mr Martin and included Eduard Kukan (EPP, SK), Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR, PL) and Urmas Paet (ALDE, EE).

The attached statement of outcomes is signed by all participants of the seminar, including the two main political parties, opposition parties, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, the police, as well as representatives of civil society, media and the Joint Committee of Religious Leaders.

 

More information:

For the House of Representatives, Mr Abdalla SHAURI on abdalashauri@zanzibarassembly.go.tz and + 255 773157398

For the European Parliament, Mr Gerrard QUILLE on gerrard.quille@ep.europa.eu and +32 473525072


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