Civic United Front

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Civic United Front

Chama Cha Wananchi  (Swahili)
ChairmanIbrahim Haruna Lipumba
Secretary-GeneralSeif Shariff Hamad
SpokespersonIsmail Jussa Ladhu
Founded28 May 1992 (1992-05-28)
Merger ofCivic Movement
Zanzibar United Front
HeadquartersZanzibar, Tanzania
IdeologyZanzibari autonomism
Political positionCentre
International affiliationLiberal International
African affiliationAfrica Liberal Network
SloganEqual rights for all
(Haki sawa kwa wote)
National Assembly
39 / 393
Zanzibar HoR
0 / 85
1 / 9
1 / 5
Pan-African Parliament
0 / 5
Election symbol
A pair of shaking hands
underneath the Scales of Justice
Party flag
Civic United Front Flag.jpg
Political Party Website

The Civic United Front (CUF; Kiswahili: Chama Cha Wananchi) is a liberal party in Tanzania. Although nationally based, most of the CUF's support comes from the Zanzibar islands of Unguja and Pemba.[2] The party is a member of Liberal International.[3]


The Civic United Front was formed on 28 May 1992 through a merger of two formerly existing movements - KAMAHURU, a pressure group for democratization in Zanzibar, and the Civic Movement, a human rights organization based on the mainland.

Many CUF leaders were former stalwarts of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), some of whom had been expelled over disputes about party and government policy. The party received full recognition on 21 January 1993.


Electoral performance[edit]

Lipumba (left) and Hamad (right) at a press conference in Pemba after their victory in a by-election

The Civic United Front participated in the 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015 elections.

In the 1995 presidential election, CUF candidate Ibrahim Lipumba placed third (behind Benjamin Mkapa of the CCM and NCCR-Mageuzi candidate Augustine Mrema) winning 6.43% of the vote. In the National Assembly, the party won 24 of 232 elective seats, making it the largest opposition party in the legislature. Seif Shariff Hamad won 49.76% of the vote against 50.24% for the ruling party's Salmin Amour in elections for the presidency of Zanzibar. The CUF also obtained 24 of 50 elective seats in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. International and domestic observers heavily criticized the conduct of the Zanzibar polls.

Following the election, the CUF boycotted the House of Representatives and refused to recognize the Zanzibari government as legitimate. In November 1997, eighteen leaders of the CUF were arrested and subsequently charged with treason. These charges were later dropped.

In the 29 October 2000 presidential election, Lipumba placed second to Mkapa, winning 16.26% of the vote. The party maintained its status as the largest opposition party in the National Assembly by winning 17 of 231 elective seats. Seif Shariff Hamad won 32.96% of the vote against 67.04% for the ruling party's Amani Abeid Karume in elections for the presidency of Zanzibar. The CUF won 16 of 50 elective seats in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. The elections were considered largely free and fair on the mainland, but observers noted serious irregularities in the Zanzibar polls, with some calling for a complete re-run of the polls. When the electoral commission nullified the results in only 16 constituencies, the CUF announced that it would boycott the new elections conducted on 5 November 2000.

A CUF party office in Chake Chake, Pemba

Elections for the Zanzibar Presidency and House of Representatives took place on 30 October 2005. Seif Shariff Hamad placed second to incumbent Amani Abeid Karume, winning 46.07% of the vote. The party won 19 seats in the House of Representatives.

National elections were held on 14 December 2005. Ibrahim Lipumba placed a distant second to CCM candidate Jakaya Kikwete, winning 11.68% of the vote. Out of the 232 National Assembly seats filled through direct election, the CUF won 19.


  1. ^ G. Thomas Burgess; Ali Sultan Issa; Seif Sharif Hamad (2009). Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar: The Memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sharif Hamad. Ohio University Press. pp. 266–. ISBN 978-0-8214-1851-2.
  2. ^ John Ndembwike (2009). Tanzania: Profile of a Nation. New Africa Press. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-9987-9308-1-4.
  3. ^ "Civic United Front at Liberal International". Liberal International.
  4. ^ "Tanzania: Shein Accepts Minister's Resignation". Tanzania Daily News. 6 August 2015.

External links[edit]