The weeks

twentytwelve







I am just back from Zanzibar. The last few years the sights in the streets have changed. Before you saw the odd woman covered like Warda here. Today many women are hiding behind black pieces of cloth. There's definitely a change going on. People are also greeting each other differently. Asalamaleikum has taken over from vipi and mambo which used to be the way most greeted not long ago. Islam is beginning to have a bigger impact on the daily life.

Maybe it's a protest against the Union government? There's a growing frustration among the local people over the power the mainland has gained in Zanzibar. Protest and clashes with the police are becoming very frequent. The islanders feel they are cheated and losing their money to the politicians in Dar es Salaam (yeah, I know the parliament is in Dodoma, but...). They want to get out of the Union and be able to determine their own fate. Which is fully understandable. I am sure they would be better off without the greedy CCM politicians from Tanzania milking the islands. Unfortunately there's a consensus in the African Union to keep all borders on the continent as they are today. Even if Zanzibar used to be on it's own up to 1964, AU and the mainland will never accept a break-up today.

I am sure Islam will grow even stronger as long as things are not going the way the people wishes. If that's good or bad is hard to tell. But as the situation is in other places in Africa (e.g. Nigeria, Mali, Somalia) where Islamist has begun to take over, there's reasons to fear for the worst.

Maybe we should support the people's demands? I know the local Zanzibar government wants foreign embassies to open up representations on the island to pressure for more autonomy. I think we should do that for a start.

The islands are paradise on earth. A pity if they end up like the above named countries.