Zanzibar’s economic growth is showing encouraging signs, with improvements in health and the transportation sectors – but some analysts say there is trouble brewing again in the self-governing region.
“We are doing well so far economically, socially, and politically under President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein,” said Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, during a minister’s conference Thursday with The Daily News and other Tanzanian media outlets.
“Let us forget about past elections and focus on achieving our development goals,” Aboud said.
Yet forgetting that past is a little more complicated. Last week, The Economist reported that militia attacks against opposition Civic United Front (CUF) members are on the rise, with houses burned in Zanzabar town and increasing harassment in recent weeks. Dozens of arrests on Pemba have targeted party officials and supporters in the past few months, according to CUF politican Ismail Jussa Ladhu.
Opposition parties boycotted the March “do over” elections that put Shein in power with 91 percent of the vote, a decision that also put all 54 legislative seats in ruling-party hands. Jubilant opposition leaders and supporters who believed they had won, and celebrated the original contest in October 2015, refused to see a new one as illegitimate.
The United States subsequently cut off aid because of the repression of political and civil liberties, which brought significant international attention to the oft-overlooked Zanzibar.
Aboud said the Zanzibar-Tanganyika union remains stable, with mutually beneficial trade and travel. The Zanzibar question, however, remains a thorny issue for Tanzanian President John Magufuli, as the self-governing territory and its political divisions are watched for any further reports of escalating violence.
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