Mwinyi’s Zanzibar winning  the heart of European Union

Mwinyi’s Zanzibar winning the heart of European Union

TIRELESS efforts of Zanzibar President, Dr Hussein Mwinyi’s government to work for an end to dangerous political squabbles and bickering in the archipelago using, every entity and person of goodwill, especially using fully non-state actors have won the heart of the European Union, making the bloc release money to implement a project called Together for Peace in Zanzibar.

Zanzibari officials say the project is a welcome product of EU’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace in Zanzibar because it focuses of peace and stability. Officials argue, and rightly so, that peace is paramount in creating an enabling environment for every Zanzibari to work and earn a living and peace also serves broader national interests of Tanzania.

No Zanzibari, no Tanzanian gains a thing from mistrust among citizens, disharmony or violence. Zanzibar’s Revolutionary Government is a Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) government.

CCM in its 2020 Election Manifesto called for concerted efforts to promote dialogue, to see Zanzibar remains stable and peaceful and Zanzibaris work together for their common good.

CCM endorsed the ‘government of national unity’ in Zanzibar. With the party backing, the former CCM National Chairman, the late John Magufuli, Zanzibar President Mwinyi and opposition stalwart, the late Mr Seif Sharif Hamad met in Dodoma.

Magufuli, as CCM Chairman and President of Tanzania, played host to the two Zanzibari leaders and held closed-door talks in the national capital. But at the end of the talks, President Magufuli said the trio had useful talks for the good of Zanzibar and Tanzania and he pledged to support both President Mwinyi and Mr Hamad.

Naturally, all informed Tanzanians were happy and excited with what had happened unexpectedly in Dodoma. To their credit, all the three leaders, John Magufuli, Hussein Mwinyi and Sharif Hamad, demonstrated to Tanzanians that they were committed to their pledges.

For what was said by the two Zanzibari leaders in the following days reflected good political will and commitment to working together for the good of Zanzibaris and Tanzania. It is important to underscore the fact that personal commitment and will of a leader to see things go right hugely matters in things like this.

Normalcy gradually returned to Zanzibar and suspicions subsided. Today Zanzibar, by and large, has a functioning government of national unity; a government called for by CCM. Therefore, one would argue that EU’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace in Zanzibar and its Together for Peace in Zanzibar are things that are very welcome to CCM, Tanzania’s ruling party.

To demonstrate the appreciation and support of the Zanzibar government to the project, its launch earlier this month at the Stone Town was graced with the presence of Minister of State in the Zanzibar President’s Office, Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Service and Good Governance, Haroun Ali Suleiman.

He was the guest of honour. He was categorical, saying the project had come at the right time when the government is implementing its blue economy strategy.

Further, Mr Suleiman said, the project among other things will help to rebuild confidence in dialogue between political parties and communities in Zanzibar.

He was addressing an audience that drew approximately 50 participants from different groups. CCM’s call is to work with everyone of goodwill.

In Zanzibar there is Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA), an active non-state actor. From Europe, a political foundation, associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) called KonradAdenauer Stiftung (KAS) is another foreign non-state actor that supports Zanzibar’s development.

Mr Suleiman thanked both. He said: “I take this opportunity to commend both ZAFELA and KAS Tanzania for coming up with this unique project which brings together all key stakeholders,” he said.

The minister said the Zanzibar government recognizes the support given by development partners and civil society. “I take this opportunity to commend both ZAFELA and KAS Tanzania for coming up with this unique project which brings together all key stakeholders,” he said, explaining that the project complements the government’s efforts in ensuring that all citizens in Zanzibar live in peace, harmony and tranquility all the time regardless of their religious and tribal backgrounds.

“On behalf of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, I also take this opportunity to thank the EU and KAS for co-funding the project.” he said.

Representing the EU, Ms Rashmi Thapa (Regional Crisis Response Planner for the EU’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments), said Zanzibar, with its young population of youth and women has a great potential. The active ones in the two groups, “can serve as role models and mentors to other youth and women and in bridging the gap between the citizens and its government,” she said.

According to the explanation given during the occasion, the EU is active in promoting peace and stability in Zanzibar and would support a comprehensive package of actions in sectors like agriculture, energy, fisheries and blue economy, environment/ climate change, urban development, civil society, gender equality and culture.

The Project Director, Dr Tilmann Feltes, Resident Representative of KAS Tanzania, said the project is likely to provide a great chance for political parties and communities to strengthen cooperation and build a common ground for long-term peace in Zanzibar. He appreciated the engagement of the EU in Zanzibar that seeks to foster peaceful socio-economic development.

He said KAS, as project implementing agency, together with its partner ZAFELA, will work with different stakeholder groups who “shall be trained and brought together to reinforce dialogue.” The project coordinator, Mr. Almas Ali, said the project will be implemented in both Pemba and Unguja in the next 12 months.

The overall project budget stands at 577,302 EUR (approximate to TZS 1.5 Billion). The project’s activities will focus on political parties (youth and women wings), religious leaders, civil society organization (CSOs) and councilors from both Pemba and Unguja.

The Assistant Project Director, Ms. Jamila Juma, the ZAFELA Director, said the project has been well-received by the Zanzibar government.

“We really appreciate the way the government has received this project. We believe successful implementation of this project will have a multiplier effect for all Zanzibaris,” she said.

A representative of the German Embassy in Tanzania, Mr. Johannes Sperrfechter, said Germany, as a member of the European Union, fully supports the project adding that Germany recently revived its relations with Zanzibar and therefore the project has come at the right time.

“Building on the Peace Conference in January 2021, that Germany supported in collaboration with the Friends of Zanzibar, and the agreement on a Government of Unity in Zanzibar, Germany decided to renew it cooperation with Zanzibar to support the inclusive course of H.E. President Mwinyi,” he said, explain that in January 2022, Germany restarted its development cooperation with Zanzibar, particularly in the areas of water and sanitation.

“Our long-term cooperation with Zanzibar in the social sectors depends very much on a peaceful and stable environment,” he said. He says Germany hopes that the project “Together for peace” will help tackling such issues and contributes to resolving political conflicts on the islands and rebuilding trust amongst communities.

Ms Maria Kayombo, a Lead Project Manager said she was confident that the project meant a lot for Zanzibaris and Tanzania as a whole. She said the project was launched at a very right time yet attracting all stakeholders in Zanzibar where its implementation would be smoothly taking into consideration that EU funded project was an all-inclusive project. “Sincerely I take this opportunity to commend both the project funders and Zanzibar Revolutionary Government under the stewardship of His Excellency Hussein Ali Mwinyi for supporting the project,” Ms Maria said.

● The writer is a professional journalist, working as media consultant and researcher, based in Dar es Salaam. He can be reached at keasi1971@gmail.com or +255 713466661.

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