Commonwealth Turns To Nigeria’s Jonathan Over Zanzibar’ Poll Impasse

A former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan,has been delegated by the Commonwealth to broker truce in the political dispute that broke out in the Zanzibar region of Tanzania after the country’s general election.

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, called on Jonathan, who led a 33-nation observer mission to Tanzania in October, to lead a delegation that will hold talks with the key political figures in the region.

In a letter personally signed by Sharma, he appealed to Jonathan to help restore peace to troubled parts of the East African nation.

“As you are aware, the Zanzibar electoral situation remains unsolved, although recent reports indicating willingness by the main political parties to engage in talking is encouraging,” the letter read.

“In view of the Commonwealth’s historical role as the moral generator of the Muafaka Accords, it is important that we remain engaged to continue to encourage all concerned to resolve the situation in a peaceful and sustainable manner.

“I am therefore delighted and honoured that you have kindly agreed to be my special representative over the coming weeks, in order to remain in contact with key political leaders and to encourage them towards an expeditious resolution of the impasse.”

Zanzibar was thrown into crisis after chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mr. Jecha Salim Jecha,annulled the presidential election of October 25 contrary to what the people wanted.

According to the electoral chairman, there were irregularities in the poll, therefore he called for a re-run at an unannounced date.

He declared, “I, Jecha Salim Jecha, exercising the powers bestowed in me, declare all election results null and void… a fresh election will be conducted on a date to be announced later.”

The announcement pitched Zanzibar’s ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party and Civic United Front (CUF), the main opposition party in the region, against each other.

The cancellation of the poll has drawn widespread condemnation from international observer missions and key development partners of the election who condemned said the voting and counting processes were peaceful.

Jonathan became an African icon when he conceded defeat in the 2015 general election in Nigeria.

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