Ambassador Ali Karume has faulted the decision by the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (SMZ) to lease the islets that surround the Unguja and Pemba to private developers saying it was not in national interests.
Speaking to journalists at his home in Maisara, among other issues that he addressed, Ali Karume who is son of the founding father of Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume said leasing of the 52 islets for 33 years does not make any economic sense.
“Zanzibar’s budget is at Sh2.5 trillion which is about $1.1 billion and now you lease an islet at about $3 million for a period of 33 years of which some $500,000 went into private pockets. How much is this adding to the economy? ” queried Mr Karume.
He added: At the end of the day you degrade the respect that your country has and that of your fellow citizens because of $2.5 million.
According to Mr Karume, he is against the whole idea because leasing of islets will at the end of the day not make any economic impact to Zanzibar.
Speaking to The Citizen in an earlier interview, ZIPA’s Shida Makame said that investments in the islets have attracted some $442 million in the past two years.
Apart from Unguja and Pemba, Zanzibar is made up of some 52 islets.
In another development, the diplomat also said that the decision to move residents of Kilimani to pave way for a new project was unconstitutional.
"Those flats were established by the Revolutionary council meeting and it can only be undone by that council and besides constitutionally you cannot nationalise private property unless it is in the interest of the public," he said.
According to him the only time when property was nationalised was after the 1964 revolution, saying that it was a one off and that is why that right is enshrined in the constitution.
"At that time the country was being governed by decrees and that is why we put it in the constitution because we do not want that to happen again," said Ambassador Karume.