Police arrest Zanzibar opposition candidate, says party

Oposition leader Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Zanzibar. ACT Wazalendo presidential candidate Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad has reportedly been arrested by police on Tuesday morning.

He was at a polling station when police officers took him, his party said.

The police, however, have denied this.

Mjini Magharibi Police Commander Awadh Juma Haji said he has no information of Hamad’s arrest.

Speaking to Mwananchi Digital, the publicity and Communication secretary Salim Bimani said the opposition leader was arrested at 0825hrs at Garagara polling station and was taken to police headquarters at Ziwani.

Hamad, who is also the ACT Wazalendo chairman, had reportedly gone to the polling station to cast his vote.

Though the official polling day is on Wednesday October 28, Zanzibar’s polling body allowed early voting for security and Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) personnel to vote earlier, a move  that the opposition is strongly against. The opposition believes early voting is a ploy to steal the election.

He started his political career with the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi. In May 1988, he was expelled from CCM and in 1992 he joined hands with others to form the Civic United Front (CUF).

He has previously called for the independence of Zanzibar from mainland Tanzania, especially on matters oil and gas.

News of his arrest also comes the same day ACT Wazalendo reported that three people had been killed by police on the archipelago.

Violence broke out in Pemba as the army distributed ballots which opposition supporters believed were pre-marked.

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