Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Zanzibar First Vice President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, has declared that he is not in favour of the current structure of Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar

Seif Shariff Hamad, First Vice President of Zanzibar.

Dar es Salaam.The Zanzibar First Vice President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, has declared that he is not in favour of the current structure of Union between Tanganyika and the Isles. In his first major public statement on the Union structure, Mr Hamad told a rally in Pemba over the weekend that he wants to see an autonomous Zanzibar establish contractual tiers with Tanzania Mainland.

“I do not want to beat around the bush in this matter, I want to declare that I am for a fully autonomous Zanzibar with national and international powers which should then freely enter into contractual agreement with Tanganyika and establish treaty-based union,” he told a rally organised by Civic United Front (CUF) in Pemba. Mr Hamad also doubles as CUF secretary general. He further argued:

“I personally believe that a treaty-based Union will be the panacea to the economic problems facing Zanzibar,” Mr Hamad told a rally at the Mchanga Mdogo grounds in Wete District, Pemba.In order to ensure that this dream is realised, Mr Hamad urged people in North Pemba Region to come out in big numbers to air their views and categorically demand for a treaty-based Union before the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) started its work yesterday.

He noted that for the past 48 years, there had been 26 commissions and more than 100 meetings organised by the Attorney General’s Chambers in efforts to resolve Union queries but all that, he claimed, had been in vain. 

“If anything, the Union problems have been escalating. This makes me believe the only solution is to go to the basics... it is the structure of the Union which is the problem,” he insisted. 

He noted that if implemented, a treaty-based merger would be beneficial, not only to Zanzibaris but Mainlanders as well for it would also sort out longstanding misgivings from both partners of the Union.Mr Hamad said that one area in which Zanzibar does not benefit within the current set up of the Union was that of international agreements. He argued that the Isles should be given powers to enter into economic pacts with other countries and international organisations.

“It is a pity that even when Zanzibar manages to secure a lucrative deal with some foreign country or organisation, it cannot sign a pact unless the Union Government agrees,” he said.He noted that some Islanders are in support of the current form of the Union as if they “do not have the interests of Zanzibar at heart.”

He said that Zanzibar and Tanganyika should each be allowed to have an autonomous government that would then freely enter into an agreement on how they could work together as equal partners.

Mr Hamad argued that Zanzibar should have its own independent judicial system and Parliament that would be affiliated to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), its Central Bank and a Foreign Affairs ministry. 

He said he wanted to see Zanzibar with full-fledged international powers with a seat at the UN. 

He said such kind of merger would enable Zanzibar to determine how to exploit its natural resources for its benefit. 

He cited natural gas, oil and minerals, noting that for more than 14 years the Mainland has been mining natural gas but it had not been clear how Zanzibar has benefited from the resource.

“Though we have asked that gas and oil be removed from the Union docket, the Mainland has remained mum while it continues with gas and oil exploration,” he said. He pointed out that the Islanders would be proud to see their President, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, fly the Zanzibar flag while he is abroad.

At the same time, Mr Hamad has appointed Mr Hamad Masoud Hamad the CUF deputy secretary general in Zanzibar. 

A statement issued yesterday by Mr Hamad in his capacity as CUF secretary general said that Mr (Hamad) Hamad replaces Mr Ismail Jussa who resigned recently.

Mr Jussa, who also doubled as Mji Mkongwe Representatives said in his resignation letter that he wanted to commit himself more fully to efforts to liberate Zanzibar from the “shackles of 1964 Union”.

Mr Hamad said it was not easy for the party top officials accept Mr Jussa’s decision to step down because of his quality leadership, but they had to let him go because he has convincing arguments. 

Meanwhile, at least four houses were burnt to ashes in Tumbe Island in Pemba at the weekend.  The incident took place in Tumbe East Ward in Micheweni District, Pemba North Region where fire started in 15 houses, the cause of which could not be explained immediately.

Source: The Citizen

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