Source Pravda.Ru

Zanzibar's president swear causes violence among protesters

Zanzibar's incumbent president was sworn in for a second and final term Wednesday, a day after the electoral commission declared him and his party the winners of general elections that were marred by violence, intimidation and allegations of fraud. President Amani Abeid Karume inspected a military guard of honor and was presented with a 21-gun salute after Zanzibar's Chief Justice Hamid Mahmoud administered the oath of office in the grounds of the House of Representatives, the legislature for this semiautonomous Indian Ocean archipelago.

"It is a great achievement of democracy," Karume said as supporters, anti-riot police and the merely curious looked on. "The opposition must accept defeat and respect the people's choice."

Seif Shariff Hamad of the main opposition Civic United Front said five supporters died on the Zanzibar second island, Pemba, during protests on Tuesday. A member of the government security force said four of his colleagues were killed on Pemba. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Karume, of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, won 53.2 percent of the vote, while Hamad had 46.1 percent, according to electoral chief Masauni Yussuf Massauni.

Of the 50 seats up for election in the House of Representatives, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi was declared the winner of 30 seats and the Civic United Front won 19. Results for one seat were nullified because of irregularities.

Hamad again rejected the results Wednesday and called for independent investigations of the election results and for international mediation in Zanzibar to prevent a crisis. He vowed not to cooperate with Karume's government, a day after pledging to launch a civil disobedience campaign similar to one that toppled the government in Ukraine last year.

The European Union backed calls for an investigation into alleged electoral flaws. "The EU considers it important that all parties should act with restraint at this sensitive time, and pursue any grievances peacefully and through established channels, and in accordance with local laws and procedures," according to a statement.

Hamad said his party "is a responsible and representative political party which has demonstrated remarkable restraint and commitment to the rule of law and to peaceful political dialogue during the last 10 years while Zanzibar has been governed by unelected leaders."

But Karume dismissed the threat, saying "The choice is irreversible. It is the choice of democracy. It is the choice of the people."

T.E.