Zanzibar — President Ali Mohamed Shein took oath of office yesterday to lead Zanzibar for another five years, vowing that he will do all within his ability to ensure peace and unity prevail in the semi-autonomous country.
Delivering a speech shortly after being sworn-in, Dr Shein hinted that he will be guided by the constitution as his government will respect rule of law and principles of good governance.
“I am a president of all Zanzibaris. I will lead basing on our constitution and ensure equal and fair treatment to everyone,” he noted.
He told the mammoth crowd that gathered at the Amaan Abeid Stadium to witness the event that elections were over, adding that the work ahead was to join forces to build Zanzibar for the benefit of the entire population.
“The elections are over. Thanks to God, they ended peacefully … we must now stand together in the broader interest of our nation,” the seventh phase president said.
The former Union vice-president reiterated that his administration will not entertain any act that is deliberately meant to breach the peace that the country has been enjoying for many years.
“In collaboration with the Union government, I will not tolerate any person or group of people who will engage in any act that would threaten peace and harmony,” Dr Shein vowed, amid rounds of applause.
“I promise to work to the best of my ability to deliver on our election pledges. I am aware of the trust and enormous responsibility that you have assigned me… but with God’s guidance, people’s cooperation and goodwill, our nation can prosper,” Dr Shein said.
He allayed fears over insecurity, saying that the country was peaceful and will remain non-violent as maintaining peace was one of his top priorities.
“Tanzania is safe and has peace. Zanzibar is safe too,” he maintained, calling Tanzanians fromboth sides of the union to consider general election as just an exercise to get leaders but not a process to divide and tear them apart.
Dr Shein appealed to all religious leaders –Muslims and Christians to keep on preaching peace and unity, insisting that they have persuasive powers to shape public attitudes.
Meanwhile, pomp and fanfare graced the inauguration of Dr Shein as thousands of residents thronged the grounds to witness the occasion attended by the Union President, John Magufuli, members of diplomatic corps and other top government officials.
Dr Shein took oath of office minutes after 11am, which was administered by the Zanzibar’s Chief Justice, Mr Omar Othman Makungu, after which he was handed copies of the constitution.
Thereafter, religious leaders said prayers for the new president in which they asked the Almighty to provide him with wisdom in fulfilling the noble task ahead.
At around 11:30 yesterday, Dr Shein, resplendent in a black suit and red neck tie, took to the saluting stage where he received a 21-gun salute, signalling his new role as the head of state.
The men and women in uniform then marched in a parade past the newly-sworn in top leader and made the vows of allegiance.
Local leaders who attended the event included former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi as well as immediate past vice-president, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, and former Zanzibar president Amani Abeid Karume.
Others were Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, and his deputy, Dr Tulia Ackson Mwansasu, cabinet ministers and head of security forces.
Meanwhile, the streets of this municipality yesterday turned into ‘discotheques’ as CCM members and supporters could not hide their ecstasy over their candidate who made it again to the most coveted office of the land.
Members who turned out fully in party attire could not wait the sundown to play music and dance and instead filled recreational halls and streets as early as 12noon to dance, sing and have drinks.
Zanzibaris went on fresh polls last Sunday following the decision by the electoral commission to annul October last year’s election on grounds that they were marred with massive flaws.
According to the Isles’ electoral body, 503,580 people registered for the election on both Unguja and Pemba while those who turned out to vote were 341,865 or 67.9 per cent. Dr Shein won by 299,982 votes out of 328,327 valid votes cast.