Zanzibar VP Criticizes Passport Requirement for Mainland Tanzanians

Zanzibar VP strongly criticizes proposal to reinstate passport requirement for mainland Tanzanians, citing potential disruption to the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union's unity and progress.

Ebenezer Mensah
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Zanzibar VP Criticizes Passport Requirement for Mainland Tanzanians

Zanzibar VP Criticizes Passport Requirement for Mainland Tanzanians

Zanzibar's Second Vice President Hemed Suleiman Abdulla, also known as Jafo, has strongly criticized a proposal to reinstate the requirement for mainland Tanzanians to use passports when entering Zanzibar. The proposal, put forth by MP Mohammed Said Issa from Konde Constituency, has ignited a heated debate on both sides of the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union.

Currently, only foreign nationals are required to present passports at entry points in Zanzibar, as the Immigration Act of 1972 which mandated passports for mainland Tanzanians was repealed in 1995. MP Issa has argued that reinstating the passport requirement is necessary to protect Zanzibar from overcrowding. However, VP Jafo has described the proposal as a regressive step that goes against the original intentions of the Union established 60 years ago.

Why this matters: The debate over passport requirements for travel between mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar touches on sensitive issues surrounding the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union. The outcome could have implications for freedom of movement and relations between the two sides of the Union.

During a parliamentary debate on the budget for the Office of the Vice President for Union Affairs and Environment, which Jafo leads, the VP expressed strong reservations about the passport proposal. He emphasized its potential to hinder progress and reflected on past discussions during the governments of the late Mzee Mwinyi and President Dr. Salmin Amour. Jafo cautioned against repeating past mistakes that could disrupt the harmony of the Union.

In putting forth the proposal, MP Issa invoked the wisdom of the late President Julius Nyerere, arguing that safeguarding Zanzibar's islands necessitates stricter entry protocols. However, VP Jafo countered by citing concerns about the practical implications and potential setbacks to unity. He also addressed broader challenges facing the Union, such as environmental degradation and industrial regulations, stressing the need for collaboration to tackle these issues.

The passport proposal has been met with criticism from some citizens, who have described MP Issa's statement as "reckless and shortsighted." VP Jafo's strong stance against the proposal underscores the sensitivity of the issue and the importance of maintaining the delicate balance within the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union. As the debate continues, the government will need to carefully consider the potential ramifications of any changes to travel requirements between the two sides.

Key Takeaways

  • Zanzibar VP criticizes proposal to require mainland Tanzanians to use passports to enter Zanzibar.
  • The proposal by MP Issa aims to protect Zanzibar from overcrowding, but VP Jafo sees it as regressive.
  • The debate touches on sensitive Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union issues, with implications for freedom of movement.
  • VP Jafo cites past discussions and warns against repeating mistakes that could disrupt Union harmony.
  • Debate continues, with the government needing to carefully consider the potential ramifications of travel requirement changes.