It is agreed among political watchers that Zanzibar always holds key to any political puzzle in Tanzania. It easily fills or closes a jigsaw or gap that might exist and this has been proven time and time again.They used to say that when they played the pipe in Zanzibar they danced in the lakes when Zanzibar had influence over the whole coast from Cape Nadir in Somali to Sofala in Mozambique and hinterland of Tanganyika, Congo, Malawi, Rwanda-Urundi, but at the most the influence is still cast all over Tanganyika which is now part of the United Republic of Tanzania.
We do not have time and space to list down key decisions that were made in the 50 years plus of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar with influence and key intervention of Zanzibar. Every political leader who is worth his salt knows this and one who pretends not to know will be doing so to his or her own detriment. Humble as they might look, unimaginative as they may be seen and silent as they might stay for a long time, Zanzibaris are very good at rising to the occasion. That is to say to many people Zanzibaris are unpredictable and a book that unfolds its chapters as one reads on. Many of us have seen how Zanzibaris dominated the Constituent Assembly procedures in Dodoma. Zanzibaris are a determined lot. Most of the time they are like wild animals; they operate in a pack and when determined they are fearless.
They can confront any one and are not afraid to face the challenges of any stumbling block. Just an ordinary look at things will indicate that the Zanzibaris have a lot more to lose than Tanganyikans if the process fails or does not reach its logical conclusion of getting a constitutional draft that is agreeable and gains consensus of all sides and that will be the one to be sent for referendum. To all Tanganyikans it became obvious during the constitutional debate that the Union was synonymous with Tanganyika.
It was explained for instance that the Constitutional Draft that was presented by Judge Warioba’s Commission was for a Union set up every Tanganyika could not see this fact. On the other side Zanzibaris were very clear on the demarcation between the Union and Zanzibar. The problem with one side of Zanzibaris in the Constitutional Assembly was that they tended to have squint eyes when it came to comparing Tanganyika with Zanzibar. Meaning that, when Zanzibar is semi autonomous and demanding to be fully autonomous why can’t the same apply to Tanganyika?
It is thus right to say that it has been Zanzibaris who have made a bigger contribution that led to reaching the state of the Constitutional Assembly and it will be only them who can revitalize the debate for a logical conclusion. I am a Zanzibari and I know my people. I hold a firm belief that it will only be Zanzibaris who are better positioned to solve or rescue the constitutional process that many believe is now doomed.
If Zanzibaris can come together, and they have at many difficult times, and decided to act as one and with overriding interests on the wellbeing and future of Zanzibar, the 5th of August when the Constitutional Assembly reconvenes, we could be envisioning a new constitution at the end of the tunnel.
To me the differences that are keeping Zanzibaris apart are very minor because I see a lot of things that unite them. If they are more united than divided, what makes them not to see and seal their commons stand? And it makes it easier in Zanzibar where there are only two main political parties in the name of Chama Cha Mapinduzi and Civic United Front now working together in the four years of Government of National Unity GNU.
If Zanzibaris could vote by 66.4 per cent to approve the 2010 referendum when their interests in unity and peace was at stake, what is now stopping Zanzibaris from seeing that there is also a stake they have to protect in the Union set up? And to protect that stake they must act as one ? If it was possible for former President Amani Karume to meet Opposition leader Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad at the height of political rivalry and animosity, what can stop Dr Ali Mohammed Shein from meeting Maalim Seif now to bring Zanzibaris together and act as one in solving the constitutional quagmire?
I appeal to both extreme ends of people surrounding Dr Shein and Maalim Seif to seize this opportunity in love and honesty for the sake of Zanzibaris who look up to their leadership.
It is of no help to let Zanzibar be torn into pieces and eaten by the dogs because if they allow that the other generations will have no Zanzibar to be proud of and they will pound their graves with venom and hatred.