Sunday, 23 May 2010

Zanzibar president backs unity government

The President of Tanzania's semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands backed a power-sharing deal with the opposition to end years of political turmoil.

"We cannot continue in crisis because we have gained nothing out of it in the past years," Amani Karume said on Thursday as he opened a renovated stadium.

"Britain recently had elections and had to form a coalition government. We must also learn from others to have smooth and stable democracy," added Amani of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM - Revolutionary Party).

Zanzibar -- made up of Unguja and Pemba isles -- united with mainland Tanganyika in 1964 to form Tanzania.

It has been dogged by political crises ever since and these worsened with the restoration of multi-party politics in 1992.

Election disputes between CCM and the main opposition group, Civic United Front (CUF), have often resulted in bloody violence.

Last year Karume and CUF leader Seif Sharif Hamad opened talks to resolve the crisis and have agreed to hold a referendum on power-sharing on July 31.

Under the agreement, Zanzibar will have a president and two vice-presidents: A first deputy president from the party which comes second in the polls and the second from the winning party.

Ministries will be allocated on a proportional basis.

Tanzania is to hold general elections on October 31.

Geographically, Zanzibar archipelago comprises three isles, but the third, Mafia, falls under the mainland administratively.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, with palm-fringed beaches and historic sites, is a famous travel destination and tourism is its mainstay.

Source: LIVE

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