Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein stressed on the social, political and economical importance of the national identity cards as he appealed to all Zanzibaris not to ignore the same.
From experience, he said, Zanzibar residents should know the difficulties involved when one does not have any form of identification.
"Zanzibaris already have enough experience in using the residents' identity cards. There are inconveniences in travelling and in doing business so please go for it," he said.
Dr Shein made the comments when he was handing the first batch of national identity cards to prominent Zanzibaris at House of Representatives premises at Chukwani in the Isles.
He told those in attendance that Zanzibaris should instead consider themselves lucky for they will now have two IDs, noting that it will be an added advantage.
The president said that increasing immigration and a free labour market in the East African region, security threats and increasing ghost workers in the public sector are some of the issues which add to the necessity of having the national IDs.
"However, I remind officers from National Identification Authority (NIDA) in collaboration with other relevant institutions like the immigration department and police force, to be keen and make sure that only Tanzanians get the national IDs," he said.
Giving a brief development of the project, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Mr Pereira Silima said that it has been going well under NIDA in collaboration with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) but shortage of funds remains a huge challenge.
He asked Zanzibaris and other Tanzanians to support the project by providing relevant information to officials and that both members of the public and officers implementing the project have a role to play to make it a success.
Among the dignitaries and prominent officials who were present included Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Davis Mwamunyange, several ministers from both Zanzibar and union government, representatives from defence and security forces, and political party leaders led by Mr Seif Sharif Hamad (CUF) and Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and representatives led by House Speaker Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho.