Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

With the huge natural gas discoveries on the Mainland, the dismantling of Tanzania is more palatable

The calls from some quarters in Zanzibar for the breakup of the Union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika – Tanzania – have never been louder.

I believe if a referendum were to be held today, a majority of Zanzibaris will vote for a break up of the Union. The culprit: oil.

Relations between Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania have been characterized by contentious issues for some time and according to the minister responsible for Union Matters, a good number of these differences have been resolved over time while both sides are still working on resolving the remaining contentious issues.

It did not appear that the contentious issues were so critical they would threaten the survival of the Union. That is, until the scent of oil rose from the Indian Ocean that separates Zanzibar and the Mainland. The quiet murmurs for separation from Zanzibar have grown into a torrent of protest.

To the more radical voices speaking against the Union, the mainlanders are considered ‘colonialists’ who have continually thwarted Zanzibar’s independence and right to self determination.

Now that huge natural gas reserves have been discovered on the Mainland, it is highly likely that if a referendum were to be held today Tanzanians on the Mainland would also vote for the breakup of the Union simply because there is enough resource wealth on both sides of the shaky Union to prevent prolonging the squabbles about sharing the oil revenue in the Zanzibar channel.

Whether the future oil and gas revenues of the disunited republics of Zanzibar and Tanganyika will ever benefit the populations of these two peoples is another matter altogether.

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