Tanzania: Shein Pardons 19 As Revolution Turns 56

ALL roads lead to the 17,000-person capacity Amani Stadium, which hosts the peak of almost two-week festivities for the 56th Zanzibar revolution anniversary, this morning.

Zanzibar leaders, led by President Ali Mohamed Shein, have had two hectic weeks, which kept them busy and mobile to the launch and laying of foundation stones for various social and economic projects in both Unguja and Pemba islands.

The revolution merrymaking, which started on December 31, 2019, with all Regional Commissioners (RCs) and District Commissioners (DCs) in the isles spearheading cleaning operations in their respective regions and districts, also saw Dr Shein traversing the entire Zanzibar, launching projects.

According to the revolutionary government's second vicepresident's office prepared programme for the events preceding the 'great day,' there were about 80 projects lined up for launching or laying foundation stones, with Dr Shein assigned one project daily.

All streets and government buildings were neatly decorated with Zanzibar and Union flag colours-green, black, yellow and blue.

During the two weeks, Zanzibaris-especially the municipality residents and visitors- used to throng the Maisara grounds to enjoy various en tertainments and sample some foods, which beautified the trade exhibitions and bazaars for small and medium entrepreneurs from Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland.

The trade fairs are scheduled to end on January 15, 2020.

The arrival of President John Magufuli in Zanzibar on Friday amplified the public enthusiasm for the day, with many Zanzibaris looking forward to listen to the Union leader addressing some of their touchy issues.

It's not clear if Dr Magufuli will address the audience at Amani Stadium but if he does, the residents here are keen to have him address embezzlement of public resources, among other irritable issues.

Urban West RC Hassan Khatib Hassan has assured the islanders that all preparations for today's celebrations are complete, inviting Zanzibaris to turn up in big numbers to commemorate the historical day at Amani Stadium.

According to the RC, the 17,000-person capacity sports ground will be opened for members of the public as early as 6:00am and will remain open for almost two hours to allow entry.

The doors will close at 8:00am to provide room for the national leaders, led by Dr Shein, to enter the grounds. President Shein is scheduled to address the nation today, his last as Zanzibar president.

He is expected to retire from Mnazi Mmoja-based top office after his two five-year tenures later this year.

Mr Khatib has implored Zanzibaris, especially Urban West residents, the event hosts, to observe the cleanliness campaign to keep the city tidy, thanking most of the government institutions, which have decorated their office buildings.

"All traders should keep their operating environments clean; the celebrations should never be an excuse for messy surroundings... this is our great day for all patriotic Zanzibaris, let us accord it the reputation it deserves," RC Khatib told wananchi during his press conference on Friday.

He reminded road users, especially motorists and motorcyclists, to adhere to traffic rules to avoid accidents.

Besides, Dr Shein and President Magufuli, the celebrations will also well attract many national leaders and diplomats in Tanzania.

Already, Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan is in the islands for the big day.

As part of the celebrations, President Ali Mohamed Shein has ordered the release of 19 prisoners on the occasion of celebrating the 56th anniversary of the Zanzibar revolution.

The pardoned prisoners had been sentenced to jail terms for a variety of offences. According to a statement signed by the Isles government Chief Secretary Dr Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee, section 59 of the Zanzibar 1984 constitution empowers the president to pardon prisoners (officially known here as learners).

He said the "clemency provides prisoners a chance to start a new life. Inmates convicted of murder, armed robbery, economic crimes, drugs business, and sexual offences have been exempted the pardon."

Prisons here are known as 'reformatory centres' established to reform criminals or law breakers to become good citizens.

The 19 lucky inmates who are supposed to walk free following the presidents' pardon have been named as Salum Kombo Juma, Rashid Abdalla Salum, Shaame Mussa Suleiman, Rajab Juma Suleiman, Mwinyi Abdalla Rajab, and Faki Ramadhan Juma.

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