ZANZIBAR

The Government has published the detailed report of the Presidential Probe Commission on the killing of demonstrators by police in Zanzibar on 26th January and 27, 2001.

In its editorial on 28th January The African wrote that a lot had been written and said about the episode but that was now history, however bitter. ‘Every one of us should now say: never again!’ The CUF -CCM dialogue that culminated in the accord between two parties signed in October 2001 had been a good step forward. Even though the report of the Commission had some shortcomings, it had proved, nonetheless, that the government cared about what had happened and was anxious to see that it would not happen again.’

CUF chairman Ibrahim Lipumba described the report as shallow and a government whitewash. Those who were involved in the killings would have to account for their offences,” he said. The source of the killings had been CCM’s resolve to cling to power at any cost even when it had been defeated.

The Commission was chaired by Brigadier-General Hashim Mbita. Lipumba said that he had requested President Mkapa to include independent members in the Commission but none ofthe names he had suggested had been found acceptable.

The British Sunday Times (29th December, 2002) and the BBC reported that the British Foreign office had updated its tourist travel advice last Christmas eve: ‘We believe that Tanzania, including Zanzibar and Pemba islands, is one of a number of countries in East Africa where there may be an increased terrorist threat. British nationals should be vigilant in hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.’ As a result several hotels reported booking cancellations although most tourists already in the Isles did not show any inclination to cancel their holidays.

Home Affairs Minister Omar Mapuri responded by saying that the Government had put in place security arrangements that would make it impossible for terrorists to operate easily in the country. He called upon tourists to feel free to visit the country’s attractions.

It is now possible to obtain visas for Zanzibar on arrival in the country. British High Commissioner Richard Clarke was quoted in the press on January 25 as saying that Britain had never at any time ordered its nationals to cancel their plans to visit Zanzibar; neither had it issued an order to its nationals already there to leave the country. He had come to the conclusion that the Isles were peaceful and safe.

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