Mwinyi roots for positive attitude, pushing speedy economic transformation

Wednesday February 10 2021
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Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi delivers his speech before leaders of entrepreneurial groups from Pemba during a meeting held in Unguja . During the meeting, the president thanked Zanzibaris for electing him Isles’ president. PHOTO | ZANZIBAR STATE HOUSE

By Jesse Mikofu

Zanzibar. Today marks 100 days since Zanzibar’s eighth President and Revolutionary Council chairman Hussein Ali Mwinyi assumed office.

Dr Mwinyi was elected Zanzibar leader after collecting 76.27 percent of vote against his main opponent Seif Sharif Hamad of ACT-Wazalendo.

After the 2020 October General Election, on November 2, 2020 Dr Mwinyi was sworn-in to lead Zanzibar.

He immediately started executing his duties from Zanzibar State House located at Vuga in Unguja Town.

The Citizen was granted an exclusive interview by the leader of Zanzibar, who detailed a number of issues that he had so far implemented as well as what more he plans to do, his likes and dislikes in his leadership and the key features that will define his government in and outside the Zanzibar semi-autonomous Islands.


Dr Mwinyi assumes power

While being sworn-in as the President of Zanzibar, Dr Mwinyi uttered these words: “I pray to God to help me in my new responsibilities”. He clarifies that, “What was inside me I thought about uplifting the people of Zanzibar and their economy. So, I prayed to God to help me do good things.”

In the exclusive interview that lasted about 40 minutes and led by the acting managing director of Mwananchi Communications Limited, Mr Bakari Machumu, Dr Mwinyi said when he assumed office, his government faced a few challenges in undertaking its responsibilities.

However, Dr Mwinyi explained that the challenges were part and parcel of his responsibilities and these would never make him falter or stop from addressing them.

He says whatever he did in the first 100 days in office originated from his personal ideas and “deep inside, I have great hopes and I’m pleased to see that we’re headed on a good direction.

“We have short and long term plans to ensure there is success, accountability and quick-decision making as these are the key issues to quickly bring about great reforms in Zanzibar’s economy.”

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Zanzibar's President, Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi addressing a press conference at state house in Zanzibar yesterday. PHOTO|STATE HOUSE ZANZIBAR

Economic opportunities and priorities

Taking into account that there are no big areas of developing agriculture in the twin islands of Unguja and Pemba, but they feel proud of having a large area of sea territory with many resources. This is one of the strategic sectors that Dr Mwinyi id determined to push and implement speedily.

The areas targeted for development in the blue economy of Zanzibar include fisheries, tourism, oil and gas, which are sectors that can lead into great transformation of the general economy.

Investment in tourism

Dr Mwinyi says tourism is going to be the main sector of the economy in the Isles, because, he adds, it has not been sufficiently exploited. He points out beach tourism as the only one that is more developed in Zanzibar.

Besides strengthening the available beaches in Zanzibar, Dr Mwinyi says they are currently planning to promote heritage tourism, meetings and sports.

Strengthening marine investment

Dr Mwinyi says in marine investment all sectors depend one another and that they do not expect to see investors battling one another.

According to Dr Mwinyi, his government will play a pivotal role in ensuring that every investor fulfils his objectives without affecting another.

The new leader says fishermen depend on industries. So, working together will be the basis of productivity “which we will have to supervise accordingly.”

To implement that, Dr Mwinyi says they will strengthen leadership of key departments to avoid personal issues, “we will ensure that everyone prioritises the interests of citizens.”

Strategic big projects

Among the issues expected to be implemented by Zanzibar Government include creating employment for the youth and improving education and health sectors in general.

Dr Mwinyi says for now he has directed that changes be made in the education sector so that it matches with economic reforms and that outdated laws will have to be amended.

He says his government will build more technical colleges for youths, who will basically base on self-employment.

Dr Mwinyi says his government is going to offer three kinds of employment: including in manufacturing (private sector), self-employment and in the public sector.

He says in the CCM manifesto, they pledged to offer 300,000 jobs through establishment of industries and that other jobs would be available in the public sector, but would be few.

Strategies of combating corruption and embezzlements

As in other parts of the country, Dr Mwinyi admits that there is corruption and abuse of public property in Zanzibar, where, he says, deliberate efforts are needed to be made to quickly control and combat the vice.

To control the vice, Dr Mwinyi says his government is taking disciplinary action against those found guilty including instilling capacity-building to the relevant organs including Zanzibar Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Authority (Zaeca) so that it can fulfil its responsibilities accordingly.

Executives worried

“Executives have started to be worried because they know we abhor corruption and embezzlements. So, we are going to reach them, wherever they are,”

“Citizens have also started to understand what we want and what we are doing. So, we are doing well.”


Zanzibar’s new President Hussein Ali Mwinyi takes the oath of office during the inauguration ceremony at Amaani Stadium in Zanzibar. Left is Zanzibar Chief Justice Omar Othman Makungu. STATE | HOUSE ZANZIBAR

Division based on political ideologies

There is no doubt that for a long time the Zanzibari society has been in deep divisions based on political ideologies, a statement that President Mwinyi admits to be true. He says the differences caused conflicts, which, he explains, his government has now managed to control by forming a government of national unity. He says, Zanzibar is now peaceful and its people are now united.

The government of national unity

President Mwinyi says after the General Election, they planned how best they could end differences. “We thank God for enabling us to end the conflicts because Zanzibar is now at peace and united. This is the major foundation and great opportunity for our development.”

Changes at port

As it is known that Zanzibar Port is the main focus on Zanzibar’s economy, there have been huge strategies of reviving the port, whose problems have started to be addressed including not allowing ships taking too long to unload and load as that brought about inefficiency and increased costs on the part of customers.

He reasons that if efficiency is restored at the port, revenue will increase and big development projects will be developed.

Recently, Zanzibar government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Omani Investment Authorities about the main plan of constructing a port at Mangapwani/Bumbwini.

According to the MoU, the envisaged port will include other ports for containers, different cargo, fishing vessels, oil and gas, and the construction of a modern town.

Dr Mwinyi says the MoU proves to be the beginning of the journey of building a different Zanzibar, because the envisaged and large port will boost the economy.

He also says that two other ports including that of Mpigaduri for fishermen will be constructed.

To bring efficiency in this issue, Dr Mwinyi also spoke of how he gave directives on laws and concrete plans so that investment institutions, in their unity and cooperation, could invest in Zanzibar and what was said could be a reality.

In that logic, Dr Mwinyi says laws that appear to be outdated will have to be amended so that businessmen could feel encouraged to invest in Zanzibar without facing any challenges.

Why expel some executives

It will be remembered that after being sworn-in into office, a number of top officials, including the director general of Zanzibar Port, were expelled by Dr Mwinyi.

In December last year President Mwinyi had to suspend the managing director of the Zanzibar Social Security Fund (ZSSF), Ms Sabra Issa Machano, and other executives for being accused of committing different offences in implementing the government’s big project.

What Dr Mwinyi says about expelling the executives is that he was reminding them that his government was craving for better performance.


Zanzibar President shakes hands with Speaker of the House of Representatives of Zanzibar Zuberi Ali Maulid upon arriving at the grounds of the House of Representatives at Chukwani in Zanzibar. PHOTO | ZANZIBAR STATE HOUSE

Dr Mwinyi’s speed to increase

He says, if there are still some public servants, who will not be able to change and adopt to his speed of doing things in serving the people, then they should quit.

The President says: “I will continue to replace executives until I find those who adhere to work ethic and professionalism and move with my speed and we must all run so that we can quickly bring about results.”

Union challenges

The challenges of the Union are some of the issues that have caused much trouble in the Isles and the Mainland for a long time. However, Dr Mwinyi says they have reached a good stage of addressing them.

He says there are national committees that have already met and continue to meet to discuss the challenges and that many issues have been resolved while solutions continue to be found amicably.

“All these issues cannot be addressed in one day, but solutions are still being found,” said Dr Mwinyi.

The remaining hitches of the Union

Despite not mentioning the number of the hitches of the Union and the number of the hitches, whose solutions have been found, Dr Mwinyi for now says what remains include issues about money (currency) and Zanzibar’s share in the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).

“Executives will come up with recommendations about how best to address these challenges,” clarifies Dr Mwinyi

Gender violence

As in other parts of the world, Zanzibar is also said to have a high rate of gender-based violence and abuse.

However, Dr Mwinyi says steps have started to be taken to control the situation by holding major meetings between the government and stakeholders of social issues including activists, courts, prosecution office and the police.

In the meetings, Dr Mwinyi says the stakeholders left with joint resolutions to find lasting solutions to the matter.

According to Dr Mwinyi, the stakeholders did not end up with the resolutions only, but also they asked clergymen to provide education to the society about the dangers of violence and abuse based on gender so that the entire society would be educated on the matter.

Special court to be established

Without mentioning when it will be established and how its system will look like, Dr Mwinyi says plans are afoot to establish a special court that will deal with the issues of gender-based violence and abuse.

People losing lives during and after vote

Without going deep when asked this question, Dr Mwinyi responded briefly: “The important thing to society is peace and my second viewpoint is for them to unite, people are supposed to be at peace and other things will be addressed according to procedures and laws of the land.”

The blue economy to touch on international agreements

Dr Mwinyi says there are no conflicts about international agreements because their laws and policies are the same: “The main thing here is that we welcome investors and we will give them good cooperation.”

However, Dr Mwinyi says in this issue they can establish a free port that does not exist.

Sports industry

Dr Mwinyi says the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports has planned to bring about great changes in the sports industry, whereby in the past the industry lacked sponsorship.“

But for now we have no reason to miss sponsorship because sports involves costs.”