Main opposition party in the east African archipelago said they will boycott the repeat elections while the ruling party–Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)– maintained that it will participate.
Police were also holding opposition Civic United Front (CUF) acting Director for Communication and Publicity Hamad Masoud Hamad for “clarifications on some information”.
Mkadam Khamis Mkadam, Zanzibar’s Urban West region police commander, said the suspects were arrested by Wednesday noon and the hunt for others was continuing.
“We are also holding the opposition official because we need some clarifications on some information from him,” said the Minister for Home Affairs, Charles Kitwanga without giving more details.
On Monday, the arrested CUF official accused security organs on Pemba Island of harassing and intimidating people.
He also claimed that people were already fleeing Pemba to seek refuge in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa and others were hiding in the bush.
However, minister Kitwanga said the situation on Pemba Island had been blown out of proportion, adding: “A lot of information circulating about the situation in Pemba is hearsay.”
“Pemba is fine. And as Home Affairs minister I have no reports of people fleeing to Mombasa. Others are suggesting that people are hiding in forests, but the question here is, are there any thick forests in Pemba that many people as we are told can hide?” Kitwanga told a news conference.
He said he was in Zanzibar to make sure that all necessary preparations for Sunday’s re-run polls were in place.
Zanzibar has been thrown into a political turmoil since the results of the October 25, 2015 polls were annulled by the Chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC), Jecha Salum Jecha citing massive irregularities especially in Pemba. He later announced re-run polls scheduled for March 20.
The opposition CUF maintains that its Zanzibar presidential candidate Seif Shariff Hamad won the nullified polls, and has announced that they are not going to participate in Sunday’s re-run elections.
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa. Enditem