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Will The Zanzibaris Ponder Their Ancestor?

TOMRIC News Agency (Dar es Salaam), 8 May 2000

Dar Es Salaam - Several members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi in Zanzibar are picking nomination forms to vie for the presidential post in the Isles.

Among them is the first born of the founding President of Zanzibar, Aman Abeid Karume. The late Abeid Aman Karume was, the co-architect of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar with the late Julius Kambarage Nyerere, was assassinated on April 7, inside the Kisiwandui CCM sub-head office in the Isles.

In the name and honor of the father, Young Karume who is a Zanzibar's Minister responsible for Communications and Transport and members of House of Representatives for Raha Leo constituency, has collected the nomination forms to join the presidency race. Few hours before collecting the forms on Friday, Karume's son, he prayed at his father's grave outside the CCM building, preparing to follow his footsteps. A local Daily, The Guardian quoted, Karume's son as saying, "Whenever one intends to embark on any crucial assignment has to seek blessings from one's parents."

This, according to the Guardian was after his prayer at his father's grave. He stood beside his late father's grave statue before he proceeded to Bwawani Hotel where he had a press conference. "I have much respective for my father who build this building, " he said referring to the CCM building which was erected by his father. The statue says, "The leader whose statue stands here has been assassinated and build, but the party and revolution still exist. His thoughts, wisdom and ideas will always be honored." Karume who told the press here that if given a chance to rule in Isles, his main role would be to clear the political atmosphere on the Isles, said that he would address several hurdles facing the Zanzibaris which range from social to the economic areas. The question here is whether the ruling CCM will nominate Karume's son to stand for presidential candidate.

The general elections is schedule for October this year. Political analysts here appreciate that Karume deserves the post following his commitment on his business and in fact his track record is also clean. The only problem is that competition to be nominated is becoming so complex following a number of CCM members who are picking the forms. Already the Union Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. Abdisalaam Issa Khatib has picked the forms. He says, "The decision to contest for presidency follows the fact that I have all the qualifications."

Ahmed Hassan Diria has picked the forms also seeking to be nominated to vie for the post. An advisor to the President on sports matters, Mr. Mohammed Raza also has done the same. Raza is a best friend of and advisor of President on sports matters.

Raza will be the first businessman to vie for high office, upstaging a number of a businessmen of Asian origin in the Mainland who already feature in the Union National Assembly. Earlier reports said here that the Vice President Dr. 0mar Ali Juma was in a list of top CCM cadres likely to contest for presidency post in Zanzibar. According to the report the CCM elders have already given a green-light to Dr. Juma to enter the presidential race. The highest meeting of CCM will finally pick one member who will join opposition nominees to contest for presidential post.

Already Mr. Seilf Shariff Hadam has picked the forms to join the race through his party, the Civic United Front (CUF) . The move to contest presidential post by Hamad comes amid of political crisis in Zanzibar, mainly between CUF and the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) which have been in active conflicts since 1995.

This was after general elections when a candidate of CCM, Dr. Salmin Amour declared the winner by a wafer-thin margin of 165, 271 votes-50.2 percent of all the votes cast. CUF had rejected the results on the grounds that CCM had played down with the figures. They claim that CUF worn the presidential post