The decision by Zanzibar’s main opposition party the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) to join the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi to form a government of national unity, will complicate its role in any future investigation by the International Criminal Court into alleged atrocities during the October election.
In November, ACT-Wazalendo submitted a request to the ICC for an official inquiry into alleged atrocities committed against Zanzibaris in opposition and those who disputed the October election conduct and results.
But last week the party accepted CCM’s invitation to join government and proposed its chairman and Zanzibar presidential contender Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, to be the First Vice President in a government of national unity.
Mr Hamad took oath of office pledging to serve in the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.
According to Zanzibar Constitution, a party that gets at least 10 per cent of the presidential votes will take the position of the First Vice President and form the government with the winning party.
Speaking to ACT-Wazalendo supporters in Zanzibar on Thursday, Mr Hamad said his decision to join government is in the best interest of the party.
He cited his former party, the Civic United Front, which boycotted the government after the 2015 election annulment, allowing the ruling CCM to rule unchallenged.
Ismail Jussa Ladhu, the ACT-Wazalendo member of the Central Committee who is back in Zanzibar after receiving treatment in Nairobi said that joining the government does not legitimise the “illegitimate election” but so that it can carry on the good fight of demanding electoral justice in future polls.
Chadema’s deputy chairman, Tundu Lissu, now in exile, said, “I don’t see how Maalim Seif and his lieutenants will co-operate with the ICC investigators to collect evidence and testify against their partners in government of national unity or their political masters in Dar es Salaam,” he told The EastAfrican on e-mail.