It looks as if the controversial Zanzibar presidential election will be discussed by Tanzanian bloggers for a long time. Kasri la Mwanazuo, a Tanzanian Kiswahili instructor and journalist based in Texas, discusses reports by election observers concerning the October 20th election. The Zanzibar Electoral Commission announced the incumbent president, Amani Karume, as the winner. American observers reported election irregularities and the American embassy has called for independent inquiry into the violence that followed the October 30th elction. The Zanzibar government has rejected claims by the US.
There have been conflicting statements by election observers. While the US government has pointed out cases of election fraud, Kasri la Mwanazuo notes that observers from Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee (TEMCO), Southern Africa Development Community (SADCC) and African Union (AU) have declared the election to be free and fair. SADCC observers released this statement.
Zainathy, a female journalist from the “capital” of Tanzania, Dodoma, does not understand why only American observers witnessed election fraud. However, that is not her main concern. She would not have cared if the American observers only declared the election unfair. But they went as far as proposing fresh election: “Who are they?” Zainathy asks.
Recently, journalists were assaulted by members of the Civic United Front (CUF). Miruko, a journalist with Mwananchi Publications, remembers when he was assaulted by CUF supporters in 2000. CUF supporters are angry at journalists for what they consider close ties with the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). Journalists have become a punching bag in Tanzania, writes Miruko. Two months ago journalists were beaten up by prison warders.
The only Kenyan Kiswahili blogger, Mawazo na Mawaidha, uploads radio blog on his site with some of popular old African songs from musicians and groups such as Papa Wemba and Mbilia Bel.
Pambazuko, a Tanzanian PhD student in South Africa, posts a Kiswahili feature article about policy brutality in Tanzania.
Kiswahili bloggers sometime share poetry. Kiswahili has a long tradition of poetry production since the 17th century. Harakati shares his poem for the first time on his blog. Kasri la Mwanazuo writes about the political situation in Zanzibar. He challenges Jikomboe to write a reply, which is a common practice in Kiswahili poetry.