Considerable importance was attached by the media in Tanzania to the speech given by Zanzibar Chief Minister Omar Ali Juma at a seminar in London organised by the Britain-Tanzania Society on May 20th 1989. Dr. Juma said that it was high time Zanzibaris ignored past socio-political sentiments and set about strengthening unity in the interests of developing the country.
In a follow-up news item under the heading ‘London Society Clear on Isles’ readers of the Daily News were informed that members of the Society had developed a new outlook on the current political and economic situation in Zanzibar following the Chief Minister’s address. The writer went on to state that ‘several society members interviewed explained that the Chief Minister’s speech has checked opposite views held by some of the society members, particularly on reports spreading here that Zanzibar was violating human rights …. seminar participants seemed to agree with the speech which explained the sources of the current problems and their objectives’. Dr. Juma said that the Isles’ disturbances were caused be racial sentiments, former political outlooks and the notion by some people that Zanzibar was being turned into an Arab country. The Chief Minister said that many of the problems were caused by discontented politicians, opportunists and self-exiled persons.
Members of the Britain-Tanzania Society have received a full account of the speech and the subsequent day-long discussion which covered almost every aspect of life in Zanzibar.
In a later development reported in the Daily News (on June 16th) the Chief Minister restated the view of the Zanzibar Government on the holding of a referendum on the fate of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Dr. Juma criticised Government adversaries who had appealed to the United Nations to arrange a referendum. Dr Juma said that the Union was ‘our own creation and all along we have been perfecting it without seeking the advice of anybody abroad … no foreign institution can suggest, leave alone dictate to Zanzibaris how they should govern themselves … political activities in the isles operate on established procedures …. problems arising in the Union are tackled using the machinery we have set up’.