Dr. Hussein Mwinyi vs. Seif Sharif Hamad
Now that it is official that the race for the presidency of Zanzibar will be between Mr. Seif Sharif Hamad of ACT Wazalendo and Dr. Hussein Mwinyi of CCM, I thought it would be fitting to contrast the two candidates vying for the Isles highest public office. It is no secret that I have always favoured Dr. Mwinyi’s candidacy during CCM’s nomination process and still believe he is a better candidate than his opponent and here are the reasons why.
New School vs. Old School
When the ballots are cast on 25th October, 2020, Dr. Hussein will be a few months shy of his 56th birthday and Mr. Hamad will have just turned 77. This means that before his would be first term is over, Mr. Hamad will be will into his 80s and Dr. Mwinyi while Dr. Mwinyi will just be entering his 60s. This is not ageism but an acknowledgement that the job of the presidency requires a lot of vigorous and strenuous activities which would not be suitable for a gentleman of an advanced age. This is in no relations to any health reasons associated with age but the general understanding that with advanced age the body and mind are no longer suited to handle the rigours of a 24/7 job.
Despite its challenges, the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar is one of the most successul political experiments in Africa. It is well documented that many of Africa’s founding fathers wanted to get rid of colonial borders and unite African countries as much as possible. However, that reality has been easier said than done. In deed Senegal and Gambia tried to unite and in 1982 formed the Senegambia Confederation. That union only lasted 7 years up to 1989. In deed the trend has been towards division rather than unification as we can see in the example of South Sudan which seceded from Sudan in July 2011. According to Didier Champion, other African countries are likely to split in the coming years such as Somalia (which already has independent territories of Somaliland and Puntland), DRC (very unstable with different regions ripe for secession), and Cameroon (where there seems to be deeply inbedded differences between the Anglofones and Francophones). This is what makes our Union unique and special and it is no secret that Mr. Hamad has never been a fan of the Union and quit frankly cannot be trusted to maintain it. As unfair as it may seem, it is important to point out that Mr. Hamad was chased out of CCM in the late 1980s when he was Chief Minister because of accusations of trying to weaken the Union. Mr. Hamad has not said or done much to dispel those suspicions ever since. While giving his opinions to the Warioba Commission regarding a new Tanzanian consitution, he did point out that he believes that the reason for the Union was Mwl. Nyerere’s ambition to colonize Zanzibar (his opinions on the Union can be read through mkr1znz.wordpress.com). He continued to state that Tangayika maliciously took on the role of the Tanzanian government. Mr. Hamad forgets that there a Zanzibaris in the Tanzanian government and infact a Zanzibari is qualified to be president of Tanzania while the same cannot be said about a “Tanganyikan" seeking high office in Zanzibar or employment in the government of Zanzibar. Mr. Hamad conviniently forgets that the two government structure was kept in place to defend Zanzibari interests and that a Tangayikan government was purposely removed so as for it to not dominate Zanzibar due to the difference in size, population amd economy. Dr. Hussein Mwinyi well aware of the history of the Union and the importance of the Union and having served as the minister of defence for Tanzania for the past 11 years is well aware of the importance of maintaining the Union and the sovereignty of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Evolution vs. Revolution
Dr. Hussein Mwinyi has only been in politics for the last 20 years while Mr. Hamad has been in politics for nearly 50 years. Dr. Hussein Mwinyi is just now entering presidential politics while Mr. Hamad has been running unsuccesfully for the presidency since 1995. This unsurmountable desire to be president almost cost Zanzibar its peace in 2010 leading to a highbrid government. This “Saviour" mentality where he believes he is the only man that can lead Zanzibar and Zanzibaris to the “promised land" is outdated and this idealism should be replaced by the logical and realpolitik approach that would be spearheaded by Dr. Hussein Mwinyi. Mr. Hamad is a “revolutionist", a populist and is more suited as an opposition member rather than the head of the government. Dr. Hussein on the other hand is pragmatic and poised to be a breath of fresh air in Zanzibari politics. Under Mwinyi’s presidency, I believe, Zanzibar will evolve and transform into a formidable economy, an attractive tourist destination, and a coastal business hub.
Last but not list, I would like to point out that I don’t question the character of Mr. Hamad and I believe he is sincere in his beliefs. It is just that his beliefs are wrong and would be dangerous and he would be unreliable if he wins the presidency. I believe Dr. Hussein Mwinyo will be candid, reliable and trustworthy and will executie the duties of the office in a way which is beneficial to ALL Zanzibaris and not just a portion of it.
Thomas J. Kibwana.