Zanzibar — ZANZIBARIS on Saturday, set aside their political differences when they marched together in Amaan Stadium to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Isles Revolution.
The colourful celebrations were characterised by the tradition guards of honour, dancing and chanting Mapinduzi Daima (revolution forever). The nation despite the economic hardships expressed optimism as people turned up in large numbers to celebrate its 49th year since revolution.
Celebrations began at midnight as crowds mainly youths took to the streets of the Stone Town, with cars, motorbikes and moored ships at Malindi port honking horns to mark the revolution anniversary. In a keynote speech, President Ali Mohamed Shein said people of Zanzibar should work hard and be committed to build and develop the Islands.
Dr Shein also urged Zanzibaris to cooperate with security forces in enhancing security and stability in the Islands, which has in recent months recorded incidents of crime and unrest. "The government will not spare anybody creating division and instability. We need peace, stability and hard work for our development," Dr Shein said amid cheers from the people braving the scorching sun.
He mentioned other achievements since the Government of National Unity (GNU) which was formed two years ago as improvement in health, infrastructures such as roads, water and electricity, education and economy growth.
The Zanzibar president said in a live broadcast speech that Zanzibar still has to overcome several challenges including mitigating unemployment among the youths, strive to improve tourism and agriculture for food security and minimize heavy reliance of food from abroad. "Increasing cloves production is among the nation's priority," he said.
The ceremony was attended by government officials led by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, leaders from political parties, a host of security and defence officers, along with foreign envoys and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
Retired presidents Amani Karume and Dr Salmin Amour, and religious leaders were also at the celebration. However, Mr Said Soud from the Tanzania Association for Farmers Party (AFP) prayed that several Muslim leaders in jail be released "as soon as possible for nation building. It is not good to have religious leaders behind bars for long."