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Monday, 30 October, 2000, 12:42 GMT
Violence after Zanzibar vote row
Police battle with a protester in Zanzibar
Police moved in to break up opposition protests
Police opened fire on opposition activists on Tanzania's troubled island of Zanzibar on Monday, after opposition leaders demanded the annulment of Sunday's general elections.

Elections on the Tanzanian mainland meanwhile went smoothly.

Reports from Zanzibar say dozens of police in full riot gear fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition at protesters after they threw stones at a police car in the island's main town.

There is no president and there is no government. We are calling for an interim government acceptable to both parties

Shariff Hamad
The violence broke out after election officials annulled the vote in 16 of the island's 50 constituencies due to irregularities.

Commonwealth observers have dismissed the Zanzibar polls as a "shambles", with the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) demanding that the results be annulled.

Sunday's polls were only the second multi-party elections in Tanzania since it gained independence in 1961.

Call for re-run

CUF presidential candidate, Seif Shariff Hamad
Hamad wants a rerun of the polls
The opposition presidential candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, said there should be a re-run after a chaotic day of voting.

Mr Hamad gave the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) a one-week ultimatum to agree to fresh elections or to dissolve itself.

"If ZEC decides to ignore us on our stand, whatever hapens they will bear full responsibility," said Mr Hamad.

The opposition party called for an interim government acceptable to all parties to run the islands during preparations for new polls, which Mr Hamad said could take several months.

"According the Zanzibar constitution, there is no president and there is no government. We are calling for an interim government acceptable to both parties," he said.

The opposition is reported to have been running a close battle with the ruling party for Zanzibar's presidency and parliament.

Zanzibar and its neighbouring islands have their own government structures and a degree of autonomy within Tanzania - but there is pressure within the opposition for greater autonomy or independence from the mainland.

'Contempt for democracy'

A statement issued by the Commonwealth observers described the Zanzibar elections as a "colossal contempt" for democracy.

voters in Zanzibar queue up to vote
Hundreds of voters waited for hours to cast their ballots
"In many places this election was a shambles. The cause is either massive incompetence or a deliberate attempt to wreck at least part of this election".

The delay in delivery of voting materials prompted the electoral commission to cancel voting in 16 constituencies.

"Those are the constituencies hardest hit by delays in receiving voting materials and some areas did not at all receive material at all, so we must conduct [the elections] again," Idriss Haji Jecha, a spokesman for the electoral commission said.

Mainland calm

The elections on mainland Tanzania proved less controversial.

President Mkapa
Mr Mkapa expected to win mainland Tanzania polls
Incumbent President Benjamin Mkapa - whose CCM party has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence - is widely expected to win a second term in office.

President Mkapa has been praised by international financial institutions for his economic reforms, which have raised the country's annual growth rate and cut inflation.

Mr Mkapa and the CCM are helped by the fact that the opposition is divided.

There are three opposition presidential candidates, and all of them have complained of bias against them in the state-run media.

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See also:

22 Aug 00 | Africa
Election fever grips Tanzania
24 Oct 00 | Africa
Zanzibar braces for trouble
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