A Snapshot of The Civic United Front (CUF) – The Party of Citizens
CUF, in long term Civic United Front which is a free party in Tanzania is also known as Chama cha Wananchi in Swahili language. Despite being based nationally, the majority of their support comes from the Pemba region of Zanzibar and the Unguja islands. As a liberal party, the CUF belongs to the Liberal International.
History of CUF Tanzania
On May 28, 1992, there was a merging of two previous movements – a human rights organization from the mainland known as the Civic Movement combined with the KAMAHURU, the Zanzibar Democratic Party. This merger resulted in the formation of the Civic United Front.
Several of the Civic United Front’s new leaders were former heroes from the Chama Cha Mapinduzi or CCM party. The majority of these heroes were kicked out of their former group over various disputes in regards to government policies, along with party policy. The party was officially recognized on January 21, 1993.
Leadership of the Civic United Front Tanzania
- National Chairman of the CUF – Ibrahim Lipumba
- Vice-Chairman of the CUF – Abass Juma Muhunzi
- Deputy Permanent Secretary from Mainland Tanzania – Magdalena Sakaya
- Deputy Permanent Secretary from Zanzibar – Nassor Mazrui
Participation in Elections
Every five years starting in 1995 and ending in 2015; the Civic United Front party participated in elections.
During the presidential election in 1995, Ibrahim Lipumba, who was the candidate for the Civic United Front, took third place. He came in right behind the CCM candidate Benjamin Mkapa and Augustine Mrema, who was the candidate for the NCCR-Reform. Lumba received 6.43% of all votes. During this same election, there were 232 National Assembly seats up for the taking, which the CUF party was successful in winning 24 of them. These wins made the CUF the largest opposition party.
In the Zanzibar presidential election, Seif Shariff Hamad was running against Salmin Amour from the current ruling party. During this election, Hamad walked away with 49.76%, while Amour received 50.24% of the votes. In the House of Representatives for the Zanzibar elections, CUF won 24 of the 50 seats. All of this happened despite the heavy criticism from both domestic and international observers in regard to conduct at the polls.
After the conclusion of the Zanzibar election, the Civic United Front boycotted the Zanzibar House of Representatives and refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Zanzibar government. Based on these statements and their actions, 18 of the Civic United Front’s party leaders were arrested for treason in November 1997. The treason charges were later dropped, and all party leaders were allowed to go free.
Lipumba ran again during the October 29, 2000, presidential election. This time he took second place, losing out to Mkapa, but he received 16.26% of the votes. In 2000, the CUF party was able to keep its status as the largest oppositional party as they took 17 of the 231 seats in the House of Representatives.
In the Zanzibar presidential elections, Seif Shariff Hamad didn’t do as well as in the previous election. In 2000, he only won 32.96% of the vote compared to the 67.04% that went Amani Abeid Karume, a member of the current ruling party in Zanzibar. In 2000, the Civic United Front party won 16 out of 50 seats from the House of Representatives in Zanzibar.
On the mainland, most people viewed the elections in a positive light; they felt they were fair and free. Things were different for the Zanzibar elections, though, as most observers found several irregularities in the polls, and many called for reelection. Despite the annulment of the results in 16 states by the electoral commission, the CUF stated they would be boycotting the new elections taking place on November 5, 2000.
Zanzibar’s elections for the House of Representatives and president were held on October 30, 2005. In this election, Seif Shariff Hamad, with 46.07% of the votes, won second place. He lost the election to Amani Abeid Karuma once again. In the House elections, the CUF took 19 of the seats.
On December 14, 2005, the region held its national elections. In this election, Ibrahim Lipumba ran against Jakaya Kikwete, the CCM party candidate. Lipumba came in with 11.68% of the total vote, leaving him second place to Kikwete. The Civic United Front won 19 parliamentary seats out of the 232 that were up for grabs through the election.
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