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Tanzania marks 52nd Union Day amid high political tension

26 April 2016, 21:56

Dodoma - A time of retrospection and celebration has been marred by political tension in Tanzania, with opposition parties airing their grievances against the country's ruling party, Voice of America has reported.

Tuesday, April 26 marked the 52nd anniversary of Tanzania's formation, which took place in 1962 when Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to form the current republic.

This year's Union Day celebrations however, took a turn for the worse, with opposition party CHADEMA accusing President John Magufuli of making a mockery of the country's political situation.

While keeping reform in mind, Magufuli reportedly cancelled Union Day celebrations, calling for the building of roads as an alternative, a move which has drawn a widespread backlash from opposition members.

Freeman Mbowe, national chairperson of CHADEMA, lambasted the president, saying that the union was not "solid" due to tensions caused by last year's presidential election.

Mbowe maintained that the opposition won the October elections in Zanzibar.

Last year''s elections saw the Zanzibar poll results being annulled due to several irregularities, following which, a re-run poll was held in March this year. But the CHADEMA party boycotted the elections.

The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, therefore, emerged victorious, thus, angering the opposition even more and causing heightened tension as a result.

"We have a problem that needs to be taken care of in Zanzibar. The party that won the election in Zanzibar has to be recognised. Canceling the celebrations doesn’t make any sense at the end of the day because in the first place, the opposition decided to boycott these celebrations. But two, we have a primary crisis to take care of, and the primary crisis that has to be taken care of is the government in Zanzibar? Who has formed the government and why have they formed the government? Are we really in acceptance of this? Certainly no," Mbowe was quoted as saying.

According to Mbowe, the only feasible solution would be for Zanzibar to form a unity Government, with both parties ruling equally.

- News24


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