25 December 2012

Tanzania: Zanzibar Courts International Support Over Union

Zanzibar — ZANZIBARIS are looking to the international community to support them in the campaign for islands' full autonomy, First Vice-President, Seif Sharif Hamad, has said.

Addressing the 2012 last public rally organized by the Civic United Front (CUF) and held at Kibanda-maiti grounds in the municipality, Hamada said, "We have the right to determine our future and that of the coming generations. We have told the world what our views are in a clear, democratic and indisputable way."

He said the majority of Zanzibaris have spoken to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) that they need the current union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika be reviewed.

"We want to enjoy our independence and privileges including foreign relations and having a seat in the UN," he stressed amid cheers from the party supporters. He said that most members of the international community like the US and EU have already indicated support for Zanzibaris in their right to self-determination.

Double taxation on goods from Zanzibar to mainland, the employment of few Zanzibaris in foreign embassies and the denial for Zanzibar to join the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Hamad said, are some of the reasons why majority Zanzibaris need the union to be restructured.

"Even items listed as union matters are too many," he said as the CUF's Director for Publicity, Mr Salum Bimani, said that people who demand review of the union were 15,030 (65.9 per cent ) against the pro current union structure to remain 7,054 (30.9 per cent).

The CUF's figures were collected from all CRC public rallies held in Unguja and Pemba Island, according to him. Bimani said those who suggested for three-government structure were 105 and other form of structure were 573 and that Zanzibaris are heading to enjoying full autonomy after the new constitution.

Mr Ismail Jussa Ladu, CUF MP for Mji-Mkongwe Constituency blamed CRC Team No.5 which ended collecting views in Zanzibar last week, for saying that Zanzibaris concentration on union and ignoring other matters was wastage of opportunity.

"Most of the items in the CRC guideline to the people are non-union matters and therefore the crucial item for Zanzibaris was the issue of union. We should be proud of our views and the government should respect that," said Jussa.

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