Uamsho, a separatist group that is pushing for separation of Zanzibar from Tanzania Mainland, is driving its agenda under the cover of Islamism, a new threat that seems to be engulfing every scene of discontent in the Coast of Eastern Africa but also in much deeper inland in the case of Uganda.
The Uamsho conflagration comes hot on the heels of the battle between factions of Uganda Muslims leadership, that has turned a leadership struggle into a battle where lives have been lost and tension of the kind that have crippled Kampala, the nation’s capital. Next door to Zanzibar, another separatist movement is brewing. This is the Mombasa Republican Council.
Taking advantage of Kenya’s liberal new constitution, they are pro-claiming that Pwani si Kenya. In all three cases, one can outright see a common strand to all these movements and that is, exploitation of the despondency and lack of hope in the hundreds of thousands of youth who have no jobs. Islam in the case of Kampala and Uamsho are just the excuse.
The trouble is we are living in East Africa and by extension the World at large in times we can’t say are interesting. Insecurity is threatening our very existence from Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab to neighbourhood gangs. If you take the threat of international terrorism and mix that with the huge numbers of unemployed youth, you get a powder keg waiting to exhale.
There would be no better outlet than so called historical injustices that Mombasa Republican Council and Uamsho are agitating about. The trouble is, our friends in Al Qaeda and Al Shabab couldn’t care less whether Mombasa and Zanzibar are blown away to smithereens. In their warped sense, the more the damage, the better.
It is their only way of showing how much terrorism has changed the world and can continue to. In that sense then, young unemployed and idle youth are being attracted to these arms of the terror groups in their droves. These young people are being promised eternal heavenly glory for blowing themselves up.
The trouble is, they are throwing grenades, arming themselves and doing damage to innocent citizens. In so doing they are making already difficult lives, impossible. People are losing their lives, getting maimed and children are not being spared either. Whether it is happening because Kenya, Uganda and Burundi are part of Amisom in Somalia is not the issue.
Whether the grenades have yet to explode in Dar es Salaam is not the issue either. The fact of the matter is, East Africa is under siege and therefore must act together to stop these mass murderers from achieving their aims. Security does not emanate from carrying guns in the streets.
Security comes from intelligence and East African security agencies must now wake up to this new reality. It is no longer about the state spending time and money finding what people are plotting against the Head of State, rather, about finding and stopping the killers before their plans come to fruition.
The last time Pemba was on fire the refugees landed in Mombasa. The relationship between the islands of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mombasa are historical. There is no doubt as well that poverty and deprivation is probably at its highest in the coast of
East Africa despite the glitter that we see in beach hotels and wealth displayed thereof. In essence, a common strategy to police common borders must be broached.
The waters of the coast must have heightened security measures. But the ultimate answer is leaders of East Africa must create jobs for the masses for them to continue to enjoy their peace in State Houses and Lodges. Without development in the areas where young people are agitating sooner or later Zanzibar will be ungovernable and so will be Mombasa. I am not sure about Kampala.
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