World Zanzibar wraps up election campaign with rival rallies
Trump ramps up rally strategy that may come with more risk than reward
Despite now-daily campaign events, he has complained to aides that there are too few on the schedule, telling staffers Monday he plans to soon hold as many as five a day.
Tens of thousands of supporters of Zanzibar's ruling party and opposition gathered at rival rallies Sunday ahead of a presidential election on the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago that has a history of contested polls.
The far larger crowd was that of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) whose supporters, covered from head to toe in green and yellow, gathered in the cloying heat just five kilometres (three miles) from the opposition meeting, a sea of bright purple.
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Heavily armed riot police and soldiers -- some sent from mainland Tanzania in anticipation of the vote -- patrolled the streets of the island which is best known for its ancient spice trade, paradise palm-fringed white beaches and emerald waters.
Both Tanzania and Zanzibar hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Wednesday.
Police fired teargas at small groups of stone-throwing youths near the site of the ruling party rally shortly after the simultaneous gatherings ended, an AFP reporter witnessed.
Tanzanians to vote as alarm soars over stifling of democracy
Tanzanians head to the polls on Wednesday in an election set to be a litmus test of President John Magufuli's authoritarian style after a five-year crackdown on the opposition and freedom of speech. In a boost for the opposition's chances, Zitto Kabwe, the head of the popular ACT-Wazalendo party, this month endorsed Lissu for the presidency on the mainland, saying he "stands the best chance of beating President Magufuli in the presidential election.
The opposition ACT-Wazalendo (Alliance for Change and Transparency-Patriots) rally took place just hours after campaign manager Nassor Mazrui was abducted and held for several hours before being dumped in a forest.
He told the crowd his car was intercepted and he was seized by six armed men. Police said they were investigating.
- 'Ready to die'-
Sectarian and political tensions in Zanzibar -- with a cosmopolitan population of Arabs, Asians and Africans -- are more marked than on the mainland.
The archipelago joined with then-Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964, and has been ruled by the CCM ever since.
President Ali Mohamed Shein is stepping down after serving two terms and the ruling party candidate is Hussein Ali Hassan Mwinyi, son of former Tanzanian president Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
"We expect big changes in the economy, and employment because the candidate has told us that it is among his priority areas if he is elected president," businesswoman Leira Shiwa told AFP.
Trump Pins Hopes on Rallies That Could Be Sealing His Defeat
President Donald Trump’s push for a second poll-defying victory is relying on a hallmark of his first -- raucous campaign rallies that Trump sees as a crucial sign of voter enthusiasm but that pollsters say may only be cementing his defeat. Trump held three rallies Monday, all in Pennsylvania, with three more scheduled Tuesday and as many as five or six a day expected by the weekend. The rallies befit the showman with roots in reality television: blaring music, slick production, video montages, warm-up speeches, Air Force One as a backdrop and the president himself as the headline attraction.
Opposition leader Seif Sharif Hamad, whose party has long sought independence from the mainland, is taking his sixth shot at office since multiparty democracy was introduced in 1995.
He alleges that every vote was stolen from him, and many foreign observers have agreed.
"The colonisers (mainland) have oppressed us enough, so take this election very seriously ... we are ready to die for Zanzibar," the 77-year-old Hamad, who leans on a walking stick, told a rapturous crowd.
In January 2001, at least 30 people were killed in clashes between police and opposition supporters after a disputed election.
Polls in 2005 were also marred by clashes.
A political deal allowing for more power-sharing led to peaceful elections in 2010, but divisions quickly returned and in 2015, the head of the electoral commission cancelled the vote outright.
In 2016, the opposition boycotted the re-run and the CCM was declared the victor.
The opposition has condemned plans to have security forces vote a day early on Tuesday as a bid to steal the vote, and has urged supporters to go out and cast ballots on that day as well as on Wednesday.
Hamad's party is backed by Chadema, the leading opposition party on the mainland, in return for ACT-Wazalendo's support of Tundu Lissu, who is running for president of Tanzania in a vote scheduled the same day.
As on the mainland, the opposition has denounced a crackdown on freedom and democracy under union President John Magufuli.
"We are tired of the oppressions that are happening in our country," said art student Ishaka Kassim Hussein, 20.
Survey: Nearly 2 out of 3 voters will cast their ballots early in-person or by mail, not on Election Day .
The survey showed a significant partisan divide, too. Those supporting Biden are more likely to say they plan to vote by mail than those who support Trump.When combining those who are voting by mail (42%) and those who voting early in-person (26%), nearly 2 in 3 voters will be casting their ballot ahead of Election Day, according to a survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project.