- Posted October 18, 2012 by
Is this East African Spring?
Violence in Zanzibar and Mombasa in the name of Independence and Religion is on the rise.Community leaders on Kenya's coast are warning that Islamic extremism is on the rise. The killing in August of a Muslim cleric was followed by days of deadly riots in the city of Mombasa,reports on both regions Zanzibar and Mombasa say both City once independent Countries caught between economic deprivation and religious fundamentalism.
In Tanzania semi-archipelago Zanzibar the rising of Uamsho movements have gained more popularity since the formation of Government unity .UAMSHO was officially registered as JUMIKI (Jumuiya ya Uamsho na mihadhara ya kiislam in Swahili language) in 2001 with the Registration no.149 under the Zanzibar government Society Act Number 6 of 1995 concerning the registration of civil society organization (Non Governmental Organitasion) . But the name UAMSHO (awakening) has become much more popular than its original name Jumiki. Uamsho (Awakening) constitution has the aim of returning Zanzibar to being a center of Islamic learning, to apply Islamic law in Zanzibar and to make sure that Zanzibar have full autonomy to decide their own affairs, and first priority is to gain independent from the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Analyst say The reason for Zanzibaris to resolve into the movements such as this one that never existed before was the continuous failure of its leaders and politicians to represent Zanzibar as a country in the union, instead they betrayed Zanzibar and let it be ruled by the Tanganyikans (mainland) for the last 48 years that ruin Zanzibar prestige, economy and history. Today Zanzibar has been left behind in the world due to the unionization which Zanzibaris believe it was a plan and systematic agenda designed by the late president Nyerere to take away Zanzibar autonomy gradually and kill its Islamic civilization and values. While in the late 50's Muslims in East African in general were not political matured it was seen that was an opportunity to plant Nyerere as an agent to deter the Islamic influence that was feared its dominance in the East and Central African region. That is why in one of his known speech before the union it demonstrate anti-Islamic aims he said that if he could, he would drag those two island and drawn them far away.
As the world politics gain new faces fear among people disappear, Zanzibaris felt it the time to stand united keep aside politics and politicians and take the matter on their own hands to liberate their country. Zaribaris Muslim clerics thought that the only way forward to bring the unity is to use the religion unity instead of rotten politics that left them where they are to pull down the corrupted union that did not and will not benefit them since its creation.
On 16th October 2012 The leader of Uamsho Amir Farid has disappeared the matter is very complicated as Police,Zanzibar Government and Tanzania Defence Force denied any involvement,The unrest in Zanzibar has continued to the second day today,Bar and ruling party branches came under attacks and torches.The Uamsho followers demand the immediate release of their leader,there is unconfirmed report that one police has been killed by slaughter in his home.Only two people have been arrested until 18th October 2012.
Many Zanzibaris support UAMSHO policies of gaining full autonomy from Tanzania,this has led to big division in the ruling party which led Zanzibar president to make changes in his cabinet and removed minister Mansour Yussuf Himid from his position for what is believed to have gone against ruling party policies to remain under Tanzania umbrella.
The movement also is supported by Some Ruling party members of house of Representatives as well as opposition party,Recent opinion about the amendment of Tanzania constitution shows almost 80% of Zanzibaris have supported Zanzibar to gain full sovereignty to decide its own affairs and to have new type of Union which will give Tanzania mainland their own government as well as Zanzibar.
Zanzibar has surrendered its power since the formation of the union in 1964which is believed to be Nyerere's own opinion to persuade Zanzibar first President Karume,The article of the Union which was never ratified or passed by the Revolutionary council in Zanzibar as the agreement required created more problems day by day and that is the source of grievances as Zanzibar has no power in Foreign police which limits the ability of Zanzibar government to ask for any AID or join any economic organisation like East African Community,SADC ,OIC or any.Zanzibaris demand equal say in the Union as they demand the union was between two independent country,without looking how small the popolation is Zanzibar should get equal treatment rather than 4% of all income it receives from the Union.The type of Union needed by Zanzibar is the same like the EU,which leaves All member states to decied their own affair,Zanzibar current has no sayying and despite of having its own Flag,National enthem and President but the laws apply only in Zanzibar.
The history of Zanzibar is renown by its violence pre independence to present,although the violence last for few days in most of the case.For hundreds of years this coastal paradise has been a meeting place for civilizations, a place where traders ,Tourists from across the world, both Muslim and Christian, have prospered.
But now it is the city of entrenched poverty: A place where chronic under investment and high unemployment leave many struggling simply to stay alive.