Sunday September 27, 2009
Dialogue best option for Zanzibar crisis – Kikwete
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JOHN KULEKANA, New York, 27th September 2009 @ 16:31
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete said that the government was in control of the political situation in Zanzibar and any misunderstanding between parties should be resolved by dialogue.
Mr Kikwete told the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- moon, that an amicable solution was within reach as parties involved in the stalemate were willing to go back to the negotiating table, to get to the bottom of the problem.
He was referring to the political stalemate between the ruling party-CCM and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF). The President said he had not given up hope in his bid to see the parties resume talks, to resolve their issues.
He added that he did not want to dictate matters, stressing that a democratic dialogue between the parties was the best option. Mr Kikwete’s assurance comes amid tension in the Isles, since the updating of Permanent Voter Register and registering of new voters started last month.
The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) has expressed concern in the manner the exercise was conducted and has been calling for more transparency and fairness. Lately, there have also been law breaking incidents, such as illegal gatherings and torching of houses, that forced police to make arrests and use tear gas to restore order.
Meanwhile, President Kikwete has said that Tanzania will continue to contribute to regional and international efforts, designed to consolidate peace in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), pointing out that peace and security in the two neighbouring countries meant a lot to the welfare of the country.
“Peace in Burundi and Congo (DRC) means a lot to our country. It is much in our people’s interests and Tanzania will always remain in the frontline, to ensure peace is sustained in the two countries,” President Kikwete was quoted as saying, during talks with the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon.
The president told the UN chief that Tanzania was highly impressed with peace and developments in Burundi, which have enabled thousands of refugees to return home. Early last year, some 218,000 Burundians who fled violence in their country in 1972, were given the choice by Tanzania to either return home or apply for citizenship.
President Kikwete, however, noted that upon naturalisation the refugees would be relocated to other parts of the country, away from current camps where some have stayed for more than three decades.
“We will allow them to choose where to go in relocation to other parts of Tanzania. It is our hope that the UN is going to grant us support in the exercise,” he explained.