Unguja — Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan has ruled out seeking the Zanzibar presidency in next year’s General Election.
Speaking in the Isles on Monday, Ms Hassan said she has no intention whatsoever to succeed President Ali Mohammed Shein, quashing speculation spreading on various social media platforms.
The soft-spoken leader made the remarks at an annual cultural event dubbed Kizimkazi, which took place in Unguja’s Southern Region.
“I have heard a lot of rumours. They claim that I want to become the next president of Zanzibar, but I want to assure you that I will not vie for the post,” she said.
“The position I hold currently is bigger than being the Zanzibar president. In fact, if you look at the top leadership ranks in the United Republic of Tanzania, I sit at number 2, so nothing motivates me now to contest the Zanzibar presidency.”
She added: “I have decided to say this in Zanzibar, which is actually my home, because of the spreading rumours. I can sense hatred and rumour-mongering going on, but I will not be in the race.
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“Let those who are in the race for presidency in 2020 continue to bat-tle it out. Nobody from Kizimkazi has come to ask me to vie for the top Zanzibar seat, so stop rumour-mon-gering,” she said.
Reports on the VP’s intention to vie for Zanzibar’s presidential seat went viral on various social media platforms recently, sparking off a public debate.
Many people have been speculating about Ms Hassan’s intention because the current Zanzibar President was the Vice President of Tanzania in the fourth phase government before he assumed the position.
Recently, the secretary general of the ruling party CCM, Dr Bashiru Ally, warned party members in Zanzibar against starting early campaigns for the presidential seat, stressing that they would face stern action.
Dr Ally spoke at CCM headquarters in Kisiwandui, Unguja, where he had paid a visit to introduce him-self to party members in the Isles. The CCM leader revealed that some CCM members in Zanzibar had started organising campaign teams well ahead of the 2020 general election, warning that it was against CCM regulations.
The CCM secretary of ideology and publicity, Mr Humphrey Pole-pole, had already warned against early campaigns for the presidential election in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar’s CCM secretary of ide-ology and publicity Caterina Peter promised to follow up on Ms Hassan remarks.