Polls rerun outcome not an end to Z'bar problems

Wednesday March 23 2016

There is a general expression of optimism with the argument that, now that the Isle’s elections rerun has ended peacefully and winners declared, Zanzibaris and Tanzanians in general should let the bygones be bygones and go back to the essential task of developing our nation. Now that is possible when contending parties have reconciled.

However, that is hard to achieve in the Zanzibar situation because of the contentious nature of the election itself, for it was held at a time when talks to resolve the political impasse were swept under the carpet.

This means that the problems which Zanzibar faced have not been resolved. The election was also boycotted by the Civic United Front (CUF), a party that enjoys the support of almost half of the Isles’ population. Which is to say, the elections can’t have provided a solution to the many social and political problems the Isles people are facing.

It goes without saying, therefore, that there is a need for further engagement of various parties in order to find a lasting solution that will work for Zanzibar. It is unfortunate that some politicians have indicated that because CUF boycotted the polls, there is no room for it to be involved in the process to mend the broken relations in Zanzibar. This is a huge mistake.

Given the political situation in the Isles, there is no way the CCM will be able to run the country effectively and to the satisfaction of all, without some involvement of CUF. The CCM might have won the election legally but that doesn’t automatically mean it has wholesome credibility and legitimacy to rule alone.

The CCM ought to reach out to CUF, for it is hard to conceive a lasting solution to political problems facing Zanzibar without the inclusion of the Isles’ largest and most influential opposition party.


Fight banned cosmetics

Early in the week, Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority in Mafinga District destroyed banned cosmetics worth millions of shillings. This wasn’t the first time the authority took this measure. Persistent presence of banned cosmetics in the market means our society is facing deep psychological problems.

This is particularly demonstrated by the increase in the use of skin lighteners. A quick survey in urban streets shows that out of 10 women, at least six must have applied skin lighteners.

The problem starts with societal perception that light skin, by itself, is equivalent to beauty. Light skinned females command more males’ attention. What users of skin lightening products don’t know are the side-effects such as reducing the pigment known as melanin in the skin. The World Health Organisation has banned some of these products because they have been associated with liver and kidney failure or hyperpigmentation and skin cancer. This is particularly true with the unregulated products.

Dermatologists can only recommend certain products to treat certain skin diseases. It is time the government enacted stricter control mechanisms and educate people on the side effects of the use of the products. The society must also overcome the strange notion of associating light skin with beauty and blackness with ugliness. Those among us who are black must walk tall, feeling proud and beautiful, for they really are.