By Own Correspondent – The Vice-President, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, was yesterday declared the seventh president of Zanzibar after beating his closest rival, Civic United Front’s Seif Sharif Hamad and five other contenders in the election held on Sunday.
Announcing the results at around 9.15 last night, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairman, Mr Khatib Mwinyichande, said Dr Shein scooped 179,809 votes, equivalent to 50.1 per cent, edging Mr Hamad who garnered 176,338 votes, equivalent to 49.1 per cent of 364,924 votes cast.
Speaking after he was declared the winner, Dr Shein pledged to adhere to the principles of the government of national unity, which has to be formed in accordance with the constitutional amendments made on July 31, which ushered in a new system of governance in the Isles.
He assured Zanzibaris he would do everything within his power to ensure that the new system of administration works, but insisted he would only succeed if he received support from all the citizenry.
“I know that leading a government of national unity is challenging, because this is a new system here. But I will make sure it works efficiently for the benefit of the current and future generations,” said the soft-spoken leader.
Dr Shein, who becomes the first native of Pemba island to lead Zanzibar, told a gathering at Bwawani Hotel where the results were announced, that when he decided to contest the post, he did not do so as a gamble. “I knew that I am capable of doing this job,” he said.
Apart from Mr Hamad, other contestants were Said Soud said of AFP who got 480 votes or 0.1 per cent, Kassim Bakari Haji of Jahazi Asilia who managed 803 votes or 0.2 percent, Ambar Khaji Khamis of NCCR-Mageuzi who got 363 votes equivalent to 0.12 percent, Khaji Khamis Khaji of NRA who got 525 votes or 0.1 percent and Tadea’s Juma Ali Khatibu who managed 497 votes equivalent to 0.1 per cent.
Speaking earlier, the CUF secretary general conceded defeat and congratulated Dr Shein for his victory. But he hastily added that the results of the Sunday General Election showed clearly that the decision made by Zanzibaris on July 31, this year, to introduce a government of national unity system in Zanzibar, was correct.
“I want also to state here that Dr Shein has been declared the Zanzibar leader, there is no one who has lost in this election. All Zanzibaris have won,” he said amid cheers from the gathering.
Mr Hamad also pleaded with the new administration to do everything possible to reform ZEC so as to ensure that future elections become more credible.
“I have no problem with top ZEC officials, we have problem with junior officials who instead of fulfilling their responsibilities in accordance with the laws, they decide to do otherwise,” he said.
According to ZEC chairman, a total of 407,658 people registered to vote in Zanzibar elections and 364,924, or 89.5 per cent, turned up to exercise their constitutional right on Sunday. Only 6,109 votes, or 1.7 per cent of the votes cast were spoilt.