International donors should not interfere in Tanzania’s general elections on 30 October, outgoing President Benjamin Mkapa said on Saturday while visiting his country’s politically volatile semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar.
"I must stress that our development partners should respect our sovereignty," he told supporters at a public rally in Zanzibar. "They should not take advantage of the assistance they give us to decide which political party and leaders suit us."
Mkapa's remarks come at a time when tensions are building in the twin islands of Zanzibar and Pemba with the main opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party accusing the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party of plotting to rig the vote.
Earlier on Saturday, representatives of Western nations, the EU and the UN Development Programme made a collective statement pressing for free and fair elections on the islands.
"As partners to Zanzibar, we wish to contribute to national efforts to ensure that peace and stability prevails in this country," they said in the statement.
On 23 August, Zanzibar election authorities announced that they would stop accepting donor support for the polls.
Since Tanzania reintroduced multiparty in 1992 elections have become increasingly violent on the two islands. Around 40 people died in the fighting following the 2000 polls. This year there have been clashes between supporters of CCM and CUF that have left several people dead.
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