Tanzania: Tied to the Past and Lashed to the Present, Zanzibar Might Never Gain True Economic Freedom


The beauty of Zanzibar - the dhows sailing out in the ocean, the narrow alleys and carved doors of Stone Town - masks the painful reality that it is one of the places in the world still stunted by the legacy of the Cold War.

In recent weeks, the world witnessed what was effectively a military invasion of the Zanzibar archipelago that began even before the first votes were cast in Tanzania's 28 October elections.

It is Zanzibar's fate to not only be overshadowed by events on the Tanzanian mainland, but also to be the most consistent target of security force action.

The violence on the islands was seen as secondary to the drama on the mainland, where the ruling CCM party was accused of rigging the re-election of President John Magufuli and eliminating the parliamentary opposition.

But the story needs telling in its own right because this was not the first but the sixth election in a row in which the will of the Zanzibari people was crushed by the ruling party and its security forces.

The blows against democracy in Zanzibar go back to 1995 and each successive election since.

Zanzibar's opposition, led by Maalim Seif Hamad, fought...

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