Dear Mr. Msoma,
Thank you for bringing to my attention, Ali Mufuruki’s response to your comments. I read Ali’s article and unfortunately I found it bland and lacking in in-depth analysis written from an “African Victim” propaganda perspective which insists that 50 years after self rule, our plight is to be blamed on past colonial masters. Zanzibar is much more complex than Ali would imagine and unfortunately the “truth” has been hidden in volumes of dusty memories because it does not suit CCM. But if Ali cared to ask the right people and the right questions he could have arrived at the truth. It is much easier for CCM to sell a narrative that CUF represents the rulers and CCM represents the poor Africans who have always been held in subjugation by the rulers. This of course is utter nonsense. The so called rulers left Zanzibar a long time ago.
The entire Al Busaid clan is living either in Muscat or England and they are provided an allowance by the Omani Government for nothing more than the fact that they are blue bloods. There are very few Omani Arab families left in Zanzibar. I can assure Ali that it would not take too long to count them. Those Arabs still in Zanzibar are more likely than not of Yemeni origin.
After the revolution to date, Oman accepted as an Omani citizen any person no matter the colour of their skin, who could prove that he or she was of Omani descent. In a world where fortunes turned dramatically after the discovery of oil in Oman, and the Zanzibar family of the Omani dynasty was now considered to be the poorer cousins, very few Zanzibaris of Omani origin remained in Zanzibar. Unfortunately, cloves are not in as much demand in the industrialised world as petroleum fuel. It seems in hindsight that Seyyid Majid chose the poorer part of the Al Busaid Empire. Some Zanzibari/Omanis remember Zanzibar with fondness and come back in June or July when it is cool in Zanzibar and unbearably hot in Oman. We call them “June/Julys.” They have no interest in Zanzibar other than sentimentality and it is to me a pleasure that they come and spend their Riyals in Zanzibar. The majority of Zanzibari Omanis have never returned.
|Ali Muhsin Barwani, Mohamed Shamte,Hasnu Makame and Abeid Karume|
Unfortunately due to Gerrymandering, the ASP had won the popular vote but did not have the necessary constituencies to form a government and needed to form a coalition. Immediately after the General Election, Mohammed Shamte of ZPPP was approached by my grandfather to form a coalition government with ASP. The deal never came to fruition despite the fact that ASP, which had more parliamentary seats than ZPPP offered Mohammed Shamte the position of Chief Minister. The answer Mohammed Shamte gave to my grandfather was “Hata ukinipa utume, sitaki” and instead ZPPP formed a coalition government with ZNP.
|Baraka Mohamed Shamte talking to Mohamed Said in Zanzibar about his father the First Zanzibar Prime Minister Mohamed Shamte|
I have no doubt that the Shamte family some of whom are still residing in Tanzania have another version of this story. So the parties with the fewest popular vote took power. If… only and if … only and if … only, there was fair sharing of power, how many lives would have been saved and how different our history would be today. Ali would do well to remember that ASP was an amalgamation of the African and Shirazi political parties. Shirazis are Zanzibari’s of Persian origins, who do not consider themselves strictly speaking as “Africans." Zanzibar is much more complex than Arabs vs. Africans. This narrative is far too simplistic, serves no one but CCM and is normally recited by people who clearly know very little about Zanzibar.
|Abeid Amani Karume|
A pity that even CCM stalwarts have no idea that ASP, one of the founding parties of CCM, is the AFRO-SHIRAZI PARTY!!!
For me Zanzibar’s political history reflects the history of so many island nations with small populations and little resources. Political power in these nations means control of the limited resources by the group with political power. Mr. Msoma talks about going to school with children from the royal household. This was true if you lived in town but for those who lived in the villages, schools and public health was a dream. The Sultan was not interested in ensuring that Zanzibar’s limited resources were shared equitably. Hence the revolution.
So long as CCM remains in power in Zanzibar, it has control of our national wealth and it can share it with its supporters whilst keeping those who do not support CCM in check by reminding them that they will not get the government jobs, the government tenders, government services, government cars unless they fall into line. It is this cycle that has to come to an end because it is this very cycle that resulted in the revolution! I cannot forget the image of Asha Bakari standing in Parliament in Dodoma shouting out at the top of her voice that “Serikali haijapatikana kwa karatasi kwa hivyo haitotolewa kwa karatasi” having received TZS 300,000 per day from the Government.
So is CCM expecting to remain in power until there is another revolution in Zanzibar? What a pity that we allow our analytical ability to be clouded by CCM propaganda. I doubt very much that Asha Bakari would pick up arms and defend the revolution if push came to shove. Whilst Tanganyikans take people like Asha Bakari seriously, Zanzibaris whether supporters of CCM or otherwise see her for the CCM town crier she is and find her antics laughable to say the least.
Until CCM learns to share power, Zanzibar will not know peace. But Ali is free to blame our present political stale mate on the Arabs. It is probably much easier then telling CCM the truth, which is that greed is eroding their political support base. That is why I did not bother to respond to Ali until you, Mr. Msoma put me up to it.
Fatma A. Karume