Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Monday, October 31, 2005

Zanzibar Update

Well with initial results in the opposition CUF has taken a lead in the Zanzibar legislative election.

Electoral authorities announced early results that showed the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or Revolutionary Party, taking 15 seats in the main island and Hamad's party winning all the 18 seats in the second island (Pemba), an opposition stronghold.

So are the opposition about to cruise to victory? Unlikely.

Similar tactics were used in the Zimbabwean parliamentary election. Here, the possibility of an opposition victory was raised right up until the last moment, when the ruling party surged ahead with a sweep of seats. Expect more of the same here. This selective announcing of declared seats, is an attempt to give a more 'democratic' feel to the vote. The government also appears to be attempting to create a mirage of real regional political support bases, by giving the CUF all of the Pemba seats. These tactics were last seen in the Ethiopian election where the opposition swept the board in urban areas. And we know how that turned out. Ethiopundit explains this tactic as 'salting the mines'

Another worrying sign is the increasing level of violence. What direction will this instability take? Im unsure. Africa doesn't have any track record of peaceful velvet revolutions, such as the one seen in Europe. One positive note to add is this assessment by Commonwealth observers:

"generally arrangements worked and conditions were such as to enable the people to express their will."

Full results can be expected later today. The Presidential count should be complete by Tuesday.


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