The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) Lucas Liganga 19 December 2011[HR][/HR]Zanzibar - Zanzibar First Vice President Mr Seif Shariff Hamad has asked those eyeing his position as Civic United Front (CUF) Secretary General to hold their horses because he hasn't made a decision to retire from politics. However, Mr Hamad, highly regarded as the doyen of political opposition in Zanzibar who has led CUF for nearly 20 years, maintains that he does not fear to be challenged for the party's top executive post. He has welcomed whoever wishes to challenge him to do so in the next internal elections scheduled for 2014.Speaking at a press conference in Zanzibar yesterday, Mr Hamad said he was perplexed why some people were talking about CUF elections now, while the intraparty polls were three years away. This was the first time that the CUF secretary general was reacting publicly to a simmering leadership row sparked off by Wawi MP Mr Hamad Rashid Mohammed, who has dared his boss to step aside from the post.Mr Mohammed has launched a campaign to market himself as a suitable replacement for Mr Hamad, in a public show that has irked the party's hierarchy, that sparked a bloody clash among rival supporters in Dar es Salaam last week. The tone of Mr Hamad's sentiments suggested that the ping-pong over the party secretary generalship was a minor issue, implying that the thrust of the press conference was to sketch highlights of the first year performance of the Government of National Unity (GNU) formed jointly with Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) following the 2010 General Election. He was accompanied by at least five GNU ministers and other top government officials during the press briefing session held at the old House of Representatives chamber now serving as an Information auditorium.Responding to media queries, and in what was an apparent reference to Mr Mohammed whose move could split the party, Mr Seif said he would refrain from discussing the party's affairs through the media.He however said it was wrong to paint a picture of a succession war within CUF at this moment. "I have not yet decided whether to run again for the post or not. I will do so when time is convenient," he noted.He said all matters concerning CUF, including elections, are discussed by the party's supreme bodies, including its Governing Council. "During such sessions, we discuss our issues candidly and take hard decisions if need be," added Mr Hamad.The CUF leader refuted claims that he was not challengeable. "Who says I am unchallengeable? If there is a leader who is grilled most during the party's meetings that leader is me," said Mr Hamad. He also denied reports by those in Mr Mohammed's camp that he was grooming someone else to succeed him, citing his relative old age as a push-factor.The Wawi MP himself says he wants to dislodge Mr Hamad because as Zanzibar's First VP, he could no longer serve the political interests of the opposition party efficiently. House of Representative member for Mji Mkongwe and CUF youthful deputy secretary general for Zanzibar, Mr Ismail Jussa, is among those rumoured to be gearing up to succeed Mr Hamad.Mr Jussa has however distanced himself from any such plot, and on Friday told The Citizen on Sunday that he was contemplating quitting active politics come 2015. He accused Mr Mohammed of allegedly being "selfish and power hungry."At yesterday's media briefing, Mr Hamad defended himself from the accusations of grooming a successor, pointing out that he could not do such a thing since CUF was not his personal property. He said Mr Jussa was a capable leader in his own right and was elected deputy secretary general through a secret ballot. CUF voted to elect Mr Jussa and Mr Julius Mtatiro acting secretaries general for Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania respectively, following the drafting of Mr Hamad into the GNU.Like Mr Hohammed, a former Cabinet minister and CUF founder member, those agitating for changes argue that the party has lost its political clout because it could not take the government head on, as its leaders were seen as advancing the same cause with the ruling party. CUF performed disastrously in the 2010 General Election in the Mainland and was dethroned by Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) as the main opposition party in Parliament.CUF had held the position since 1995.In an immediate rejoinder, Mr Mohammed yesterday said he was pleased Mr Hamad had reiterated the need for party issues to be discussed in its supreme organs. The Wawi MP reiterated his stand that he will oppose Mr Hamad in appropriately held elections. However, he expressed misgivings over media reports that quoted Mr Hamad as labelling him a traitor, thereby trashing his candidature. Meanwhile, Mr Hamad yesterday called on Zanzibaris to air their views when the Constitutional Review Commission starts to collect views from various stakeholders. He said one of the thorny issues that should be raised by Zanzibaris was the need to alternate the Union presidency between the Mainland and Zanzibar. "One term the presidency should go to the Mainland and the other term should be Zanzibar's turn," said the First Vice-President.However, he said there should be a modality of picking the Union president in Zanzibar because Zanzibar's Union presidential candidates could not win through the ballot box as Zanzibaris were a minority.Mr Hamad catalogued the achievements the GNU had registered during its first year of existence, including the creation of a peaceful and tranquil country. However, he said there were still some challenges facing the GNU, including cross cutting issues such as drug abuse and trafficking, the environment and HIV/Aids.