CCM-CUF stand-off deepens as Hamad barred from House

Speaker of the House, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho.THE political crisis brewing between members of CCM and Civic United Front (CUF) in the Zanzibar House of Representatives deepened after the ruling party voted against the Speaker’s move to invite First Vice-President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, to the House’s closing ceremony scheduled for this afternoon.

Speaker of the House, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho, informed the legislators, all from CCM, that President Ali Mohamed Shein was expected to address the House this afternoon and that he would be accompanied by three specials guests.

“I need your (Members) permission to allow the President’s ADC (Aide-de-Camp) or his personal assistant, the Chief Justice (CJ) of Zanzibar, and the president’s advisor, First Vice-President Seif Sharif Hamad,” Mr Kificho said.

Members of the House responded that it was okay with the ADC and CJ invitations, but raised their voice against inviting Mr Hamad, asking the Speaker to cancel the invitation to the First Vice-President in the Government of National Unity (GNU). Mr Kificho said he would revoke his invitation to Mr Hamad immediately since the lawmakers opposed the move.

He said Dr Shein would address them before setting August 13 this year as the date for dissolving the 20th Assembly to pave way for the October general elections.

The CCM representatives’ move to reject Mr Hamad to accompany Dr Shein into the House came three days after their counterparts from CUF walked out of the House to protest ‘flaws’ in the ongoing voter registration, pressing the government to resolve the problems in the exercise.

CUF members, including ministers from the party, vowed not to return to the House because cheating in voter registration was rampant, especially when it came to isolating people believed to be followers of CUF.

“We will not bow to any pressure; we remain ministers and will not resign,” Mr Juma Duni Haji (Nominated-CUF) said. Mr Kificho, Mr Mohamed Aboud Mohamed (Minister of State, House Affairs), and Mr Ali Salum Haji (acting Chief Whip, CCM) lined up to condemn CUF’s boycott of the House.

“We are particularly unhappy with ministers from CUF joining the boycott. The move is unconstitutional and they (ministers) must resign because it shows they have no respect for their boss (President Shein),” said the Chief Whip.

The CCM chief whip said there was no need for the First Vice-President to be present in the House since all members from his party had boycotted the House.

The House Clerk, Mr Yahya Khamis, said the CCM members’ decision to reject Mr Hamad was concomitant to Section 136 of the House regulations.

On his part, the Second Vice-President, Mr Seif Ali Iddi, said: “CUF’s move was an affront to GNU much as it was a colossal disappointment.’’