The Rise and Fall of the Government of National Unity in Zanzibar: A Critical Analysis of the 2015 elections

This article analyses the pitfalls that characterised the emergence and
eventual demise of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Tanzania’s
semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar. Drawn from continuous political and
electoral observations in Zanzibar, the article analyses how the 2015 general
elections contributed to the eventual dissolution of the GNU. The GNU in
Zanzibar was a negotiated political settlement between two parties – the
incumbent Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Civic United Front (CUF).
In particular, this article looks at how the start of the constitutional review
process in Tanzania contributed to the withering of the GNU. Despite its
undeniably noble agenda, the constitutional review process resuscitated old
enmities between CCM and the CUF. The two parties’ divergent stances
on the structure of the Union revived the rifts that characterised their
relationship before the GNU. We analyse the election cycle rhetoric following
the run-up to the elections and how this widened the GNU fissures leading
to its eventual demise after the re-election in March 2016. After the 2015
elections were nullified, the CUF, which had claimed victory, boycotted the
re-election. As a result, the CCM won an overwhelming electoral victory.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: elections, Government of National Unity, political settlement, reconciliation, Tanzania, Zanzibar
journal of african elections vol17 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa