Monday, September 05, 2011

Wikileaks: Ghosts of revolution haunt Zanzibar´s reconciliation process



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2011


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Classified By: Mary B. Johnson, Political Counselor, for reason 1.4(d).

1. (C) SUMMARY. On August 15, just when people began to think Zanzibar's opposition party might have given way to political apathy, three hundred young supporters from the Civic United Front (CUF) surrounded their party leader, Maalim Seif Hamad, demanding answers. What is the CUF leadership's plan? And where is President Kikwete on his promise for reconciliation? To answer such questions, we have launched a series of meetings hosted by the Deputy Chief of Mission with respected observers of the Zanzibar political scene. In the first of these meetings with Dr. Rwekaza Mukandala, Director of Tanzania's most prominent election monitoring NGO, Dr. Mukandala offered these views:

(i) while CUF youth are losing patience and looking for leadership, CUF has not yet decided to look beyond Hamad for a new leader;

(ii) a power struggle within the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), has constrained President Kikwete's ability to influence the Government of Zanzibar (GOZ) and advance his "reconciliation and dialogue" agenda; and

(iii) the reconciliation process between CUF and CCM on Zanzibar remains "haunted by ghosts of the (1964) revolution." While we generally agree with Mukandala's observations, we think nrest within CUF's youth wing nevertheless bears watching. We also think that ultimately the "ghosts of the revolution" must fade; to help them do so, we intend to send young CUF and CCM youth leaders on a group International Visitors program next year as a confidence-building measure. END


CUF Leader Confronted by Youth Mob


2. (C) Seeking answers, 300 frustrated, young Civic United Front (CUF) supporters surrounded their party leader, Maalim Seif Hamad, as he tried to enter his office at CUF headquarters in Stone Town, Zanzibar on August 15. Venting their frustrations and demanding a response from Hamad, these angry youth drew attention to both the stalled reconciliation process on Zanzibar as well as the leadership void within CUF itself. Hamad's less than inspired response, according to a front page Guardian article on August 16 and confirmed to us by Hon. Hamad Masoud Hamad, a CUF member of the House of Representatives, was to promise a press release on the elections which occurred almost ten months ago.

CUF Leadership Void, Pembans Moon Over Hamad


3. (C) Dr. Rwekaza Mukandala, Director of Tanzania's most prominent election monitoring NGO known as Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania (REDET), said August 16 that while frustrations may be mounting among Unguja's youth, support for Hamad is still strong within CUF. His popularity remains especially high on Pemba island - a CUF stronghold where the party won all 18 seats in the House of Representatives. Dr. Mukandala said Hamad's enduring party leadership was based not only on deep reverence and respect for him among Pembans, but his Pemban origin itself: "It is very important to Pembans that the President of Zanzibar be from Pemba. Some Pembans are so loyal to Hamad that they claim to see his face on the moon!"

Can President Kikwete Deliver on Reconciliation?

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4. (C) Although President Kikwete promised to address Zanzibar's political problems shortly after taking office in December 2005, thus far no real progress has been made toward reconciliation on the isles. Dr. Mukandala noted that over the past eight months numerous meetings have been held and numerous briefing papers on reconciliation have been circulated within the GOT. However, without real or meaningful progress toward reconciliation, the question of President Kikwete's influence over the Government of Zanziba (GOZ) arises.

5. (C) Dr. Mukandala explained that President Kikwete is constrained in part by a power struggle within the ruling party on Zanzibar between "CCM Bilal" and "CCM Karume." While the "CCM Karume" faction is relatively moderate and could conceivably support a national government of unity, the "CCM Bilal" faction is staunchly pro-revolution and opposed to such a unity government. CCM's Ghalib Bilal was Chief Minister under former President of Zanzibar, Salmin Amour, and an aspiring Presidential candidate during CCM nominations in both 2000 and 2005. Dr. Mukandala cited several examples of CCM Bilal's extreme and discriminatory attitude, explaining this faction to be one force putting limits on

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President Karume's ability to maneuver politically and therefore President Kikwete's ability to push CCM Zanzibar toward reconciliation. "Only with united party support can President Kikwete effectively exert influence over President Karume and the situation on Zanzibar," Dr. Mukandala noted.

Zanzibar's Zero Sum Elections and the Bottom Line: "CCM Would

Never Let CUF Take Power..."

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6. (C) Dr. Mukandala emphasized another key stumbling block in addressing Zanzibar's political divide: the almost singular focus on elections. Both the CCM and CUF continue to view elections not as part of a democratic process but as a "zero sum game" or the sole means to change the status quo. Elections have become overburdened by expectations and fears that a change in party would mean reversal of policies implemented after the 1964 revolution, in which the Afro-Shirazi party toppled the ruling Arab elite. "Ghosts of the revolution still haunt the election process," Dr. Mukandala stressed, pointing to CCM party slogans from the 2005 election such as "Mapinduzi Daima" meaning "Revolution Forever."

7. (C) Dr. Mukandala painted a troubling picture of discrimination in jobs and expropriation of opposition property carried out under President Karume's father, Zanzibar's first president, who was assassinated in 1972. CCM fears, in effect, that if CUF came to power it would re-expropriate property, dismiss CCM and hire CUF members for jobs, and perhaps even dissolve the Union. The fears, he said, "over-burden" elections, resulting in pervasive mistrust, each side fearing the other's revenge. Consequently, Dr. Mukandala said he did not believe CCM would ever let CUF assume power. (Comment: Dr. Mukandala also said CUF "would have won free and fair elections" last October, a conclusion which REDET declined to articulate clearly at the time, to our disappointment.)

Economic Growth Stagnates


8. (C) Dr. Ndumbaro, Head of Political Science at the University of Dar es Salaam and a colleague of Dr. Mukandala at REDET, added that Zanzibar's "zero sum" political battle has also had negative economic repercussions for the island. Despite great tourism and agricultural promise, Zanzibar's economic development potential remains largely untapped. In May-June 2006, Zanzibar's economic indicators revealed little good news: rising inflation, declining exports, and declining government revenue. It is evident that CCM has yet to create an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish. Dr. Ndumbaro explained that this is largely due to the fact that many businessmen and traders are key CUF supporters. He also noted that many of these businesses have relocated to Dar and the mainland.

Comment: Youth Wing Increasingly Impatient


9. (C) Despite the fact that our meeting with Dr. Mukandala and Dr. Ndumbaro came on the heels of the protest by 300 CUF youth, they were adamant that while CUF may be yearning for greater leadership from Hamad, CUF was not yearning for a new leader. Nor would Mukandala or Ndumbaro admit the possibility of a splintering off from the opposition party, perhaps by disaffected youth. Deep and abiding reverence for Hamad on Pemba still outweighs any discontent resulting from apparent lack of strategy or action since the 2005 elections. Nevertheless, post believes that this very inaction and lack of political strategy, combined with the outburst of angry youth, bears careful watching.

10. (SBU) Indeed, as urban and often unemployed youth on Zanzibar become restless and in some cases disillusioned with the democratic process, Dr. Mukandala and others have focused on youth education and leadership training as a long-term approach to creating future, enlightened Zanzibari leaders who might bridge the political divide. Asked how the United States could help, Dr. Mukandala said the U.S. could help equip the next generation of Zanzibari leaders with effective negotiation and conflict management skills. Consequently, we intend to create a group international visitor program next year for young CUF and CCM leaders which, we hope, will build mutual trust and help banish the "ghosts" of Zanzibar's bitter political divide. END COMMENT.


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