Statement by Commonwealth Election Observer Missions regarding Zanzibar 2015

The Election Observer Missions of the Commonwealth headed by His Excellency Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), headed by the Honorable Oldemiro Baloi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, the African Union, headed by His Excellency Armando Guebuza, the European Union headed by Ms Judith Sargentini, observed the voting and counting processes across the United Republic of Tanzania on 25 October 2015.

We note with great concern the statement issued by the Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, in which he nullified the Zanzibar elections.

We issued interim statements on 27 October, in which we all affirmed the credibility of the voting process.

We were pleased that the voting and counting took place in an atmosphere of peace, and that the people of Tanzania demonstrated a strong commitment to their democratic process by turning out in significant numbers to cast their vote.

We had commended the National Electoral Commission and the Zanzibar Electoral Commission for the competent and largely efficient manner in which they managed the electoral process on Election Day.

Our overall assessment of the voting and counting process at the polling stations, based on all our observations, was that it was conducted in a generally peaceful and organised manner, according to the procedures outlined in the laws of the United Republic of Tanzania and the laws of Zanzibar. We stand by this assessment.

We were conscious that the tabulation of results process was yet to conclude. We expressed the hope that all stakeholders, in particular, the political leadership in Zanzibar, would await the conclusion of that process in the spirit of national unity, reconciliation, peace and stability.

We now respectfully request the Zanzibar Electoral Commission to specify in which polling stations there were irregularities. We appeal to the ZEC to act with full transparency in its decision to nullify the elections. We urge the political leadership of Zanzibar to cast aside their differences, put the interest of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar first, and come together to find a speedy resolution to the issues that have led to this unfortunate development.

Democracy, peace and unity in Zanzibar are at stake.

The 2010 elections in Zanzibar ushered in a government of national unity which gave the people of Zanzibar hope for sustainable peace and democracy.

We urgently call on the leadership of Zanzibar, the United Republic of Tanzania, the ZEC, NEC and all stakeholders to live up to the expectations of the people.