Mwafaka:Back to zero By Mkinga Mkinga THE CITIZEN The Civic United Front (CUF) has set a new condition for the resumption of the stalled Mwafaka talks with the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi to resolve the Zanzibar crisis. The opposition party's new position is outlined in a letter CUF boss Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad has written to CCM secretary-general Yusuf Makamba, and which is dated October 8. In a copy of the letter, which was made available to The Citizen, CUF says the CCM national chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete, and the opposition party's top leader, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, should lead the new talks. Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Makamba said: "I'm not aware of CUF's letter as I have been out of the office." Mr Makamba has in the recent past been heavily involved in campaigns for the Tarime parliamentary by-election, which his party lost to Chadema. In this latest twist in the Zanzibar Mwafaka talks, which indicates that CUF is no longer interested in continuing with the inter-party negotiations with the CCM representatives led by secretary-general Makamba, Mr Hamad also wants Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume to join the core negotiating team. Mr Hamad says the expanded team should discuss the implementation of the Mwafaka agreement that had been reached before the parties broke up after 14 months of negotiations, when the top CCM organ at its Central Committee meeting in Butiama last April, opted for a referendum as the solution to the Zanzibar problem. The CUF official says they are pushing for the immediate formation of a government of national unity in Zanzibar to level the political playing ground for the 2010 General Election. "There is no difference between the situation in Zanzibar and what transpired in Kenya and Zimbabwe early in the year. Their unity governments were necessitated by need to prepare for a smooth political transition in future," he says. Mr Hamad's letter was in response to the one by Mr Makamba's to CUF, dated September 26, in which he requested that the two secretaries general meet, as directed by President Kikwete, to revive the stalled talks. CUF, Mr Hamad says, will resist any attempts by CCM to force it back to negotiating table to discuss the ruling party's referendum proposal, insisting that the Mwafaka pact agreed by both sides did not include that element. One of the contentious issues in the Mwafaka talks is that while CUF's position is that it should be incorporated in the Isles Government ahead of the next General Election in 2010, CCM argues that such a coalition should only come into force after the elections. However, the CCM's National Executive Committee resolved that the matter be determined by a referendum for the people to determine how they wish to be governed. In the letter to Mr Makamba, Mr Hamad says: "Every thing about the Mwafaka was completed early this year so we are waiting to agree on the next phase of implementation and not starting fresh negotiations." The CUF secretary general accuses CCM of misleading the public with its statements on Mwafaka. "The call by President Kikwete for the resumption of talks, in his recent address to Parliament, therefore, does not apply to CUF," Mr Hamad adds. He says some CCM leaders have not demonstrated the political will to solve the political impasse in the Isles. Mr Hamad cites recent remarks by CCM publicity secretary John Chiligati, who said that any power sharing in Zanzibar would have to wait until 2010. In his letter, Mr Makamba had asked Mr Hamad to contact him so they could revive the talks, as proposed by President Kikwete. "Please, we need to communicate, in order to arrange to revive the talks in the national interest," the CCM letter reads in part. In his keynote speech to the National Assembly at Dodoma last August, President Kikwete said he was optimistic that the talks would be revived soon as the negotiations between the two political parties had almost been completed. He said the parties had a few outstanding points, which they should meet to resolve. The original agreement between CCM and CUF reads in part: "Under this principle of building mutual trust towards the new era of political direction in Zanzibar, President Karume will form a coalition or government of national unity soon after the peace accord deal has been signed by both parties. "The Government of national unity in Zanzibar will also be the main organ to implement the peace accord and create a conducive environment for free and fair elections in 2010." However, interestingly, the special report presented by the CCM Mwafaka negotiating team to the CC and NEC meetings in Butiama stated in part: "Power sharing agreements should be accepted by the party under the conditions that it takes off after the 2010 General Election." CUF leaders have accused their CCM counterparts of altering the document, and on whose basis the ruling party's top organs directed that a referendum be held in Zanzibar for the people to determine how they should be ruled.