Zanzibar is preparing for an election rerun Sunday, after polls were nullified in the region last year. But the main opposition party is urging a boycott, and problems with ballot papers are causing many to wonder how a rerun will result in a better electoral process. Three days after Tanzanians cast their ballots in national elections last October, Zanzibar Electoral Commission Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha announced he would be annulling the island’s elections and holding new ones due to “violations of electoral law.” The opposition has dismissed these claims.
Zanzibar Law Society president Omar Said Shaaban says the constitution allows for the electoral commission chairman to nullify polls on or before election day. “But this time, nullification happened three days after the election day, which is not something constitutionally provided,” he said.
That makes this election season unprecedented for Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. Shaaban says the region has experienced election nullifications in the past, but not days afterward.