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Cablegate: Zanzibar: Voter Registration Resumes On Both Islands

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PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHDR #0603 2570417
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140417Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8848
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 2959
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3495
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1421
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0473
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT 0095
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1369
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0309
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0863
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0316
RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA//J3
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS DAR ES SALAAM 000603

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E JTREADWELL; INR/RAA: FEHRENRIECH; NSC FOR
MGAVIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PREL PGOV PHUM TZ
SUBJECT: ZANZIBAR: VOTER REGISTRATION RESUMES ON BOTH ISLANDS

REF: (A) Dar es Salaam 532 (B) Dar es Salaam 531 and (C) Dar es
Salaam 515 and previous

1.(U) SUMMARY: On September 12, the Zanzibar Election Commission
(ZEC) will restart the registration of voters process that had been
suspended since August 4 due to violence. ZEC will continue to
require the controversial Zanzibar I.D. in order to register, even
though there has been no discernable change in the way I.D.s are
being issued. President Karume is in Pemba to witness the activity,
while opposition Civic United Front (CUF) says its members will
boycott the process. END SUMMARY.

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2. (U) ZEC Chairman Khatib Mwinyichande, in a news conference
announcing September 12 resumption of voter registration, said the
Qtime outQ called August 4 after violence in Pemba allowed for
consultations with all involved and paved the way for a smoother
resumption of the exercise. Nonetheless, ZEC will continue to
require the controversial Zanzibar I.D. in order to register, even
though there has been no discernable change in the way I.D.s are
being issued. Registrations will began exactly where they left off
in Ole, Pemba (where militia troops fired at demonstrators; ref C),
and continue throughout the island until January 10.

3. (U) President Karume is in Pemba to witness the restart of voter
activities. Opposition Civic United Front (CUF) says its members
will boycott the process because not all eligible applicants had
equal access to Zanzibar I.D.s, the party claims. CUF also told the
press that it will stage a protest march and rally in northern
Pemba, but Senior Police Officer Said Salum Malekano said police had
banned the planned demonstration. He promised tight security at
the registration centers. Embassy Zanzibar Affairs Specialist also
is in Pemba to observe events.

4. (U) On the main island of Unguja, the remaining UNDP-sponsored
registration machines have arrived, so ZEC also will start
simultaneous registrations September 12 on that island. It will
begin in CUF Unguja stronghold Nungwi and move through the other
constituencies until February 14.

5. (U) Meanwhile, in an attempt to further isolate opposition CUF,
ZanzibarQs CCM government has been giving primacy in the
state-controlled press to some obscure, relatively unknown political
parties. One such party (QNational League for DemocracyQ) has used
the forum to attack the U.S. for QinterferenceQ in local affairs
because of our Travel Alert. Even nationally known opposition party
CHADEMA seems to be involving itself in the debate. Nationally,
CHADEMA has brought a lawsuit against the Zanzibar I.D. card saying
it is anti-Union and therefore constitutional, while locally CHADEMA
has taken the side of CCM against CUF, supporting resumption of the
registration (even though registration is based on having a Zanzibar
I.D.)

7. (SBU) COMMENT: Even though NLD and another, heretofore unknown,
party called QAssociation of Farmers PartyQ (AFP), have no
representation in Government nor are they likely to gather enough
signatures to put candidates on the ballot in 2010, the ruling
CCM/Government of Zanzibar seems to be trying to establish the
message that CUF is not the only opposition party in Zanzibar. Some
accuse the NLD of being on the Zanzibar GovernmentQs payroll.
CHADEMA, CUFQs arch rival on the mainland, has few supporters and no
seats in Zanzibar. However, it seems willing to lend tacit support
to any CCM Zanzibar gerrymandering if it will cost CUF. Of broader
concern, however, is CCM ZanzibarQs efforts to legitimizing parties
without constituents in Zanzibar. If they become participants in
civil dialogue on the islands, it will make it harder to work out a
power-sharing deal to stave off violence before the 2010 elections.


CUNANE

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