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Cablegate: Zanzibar: Ambassador Green Discusses Zanzibar

VZCZCXRO7379
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHDR #0461/01 2100705
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280705Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7726
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1423
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0400
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT PRIORITY 0071
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0310
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAR ES SALAAM 000461

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT AF/E FOR JLIDDLE
ADDIS ABABA FOR AU MISSION
LONDON, PARIS, BRUSSELS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV KDEM EAID TZ
SUBJECT: ZANZIBAR: AMBASSADOR GREEN DISCUSSES ZANZIBAR
ECONOMY, PEMBAN ELDERS' PETITION WITH PRESIDENT KARUME

REF: A. DAR ES SALAAM 0444
B. DAR ES SALAAM 0261

DAR ES SAL 00000461 001.2 OF 002


SUMMARY
-------
1. (SBU) President Amani Karume of Zanzibar told Ambassador
Green in a recent meeting that he is ready at any time to
discuss next steps to break the impasse between the ruling
Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Civic United Front (CUF) in
Zanzibar. Karume commented that law enforcement authorities
may have "overreacted" in their brusque arrest and six day
detention of seven Pemban elders who had signed a petition in
April 2008 for Pemba's autonomy within the United Republic of
Tanzania. In a wide ranging discussion on Zanzibar's
economy, the effects of the electricity blackout that
paralyzed Unguja Island for nearly three weeks in June 2008,
and difficulties the Government of Zanzibar has faced in
infrastructure development, the Ambassador laid the
groundwork for a frank discussion with Karume on the
necessity to take action and respond to opposition concerns
in order to assure to avoid serious civil disturbances or
violence in the run-up to or during Zanzibar's 2010
elections. End Summary

Tourism top income earner for Zanzibar
--------------------------------------
2. (SBU) As the stalemate over the path to reconciliation and
an equitable power-sharing agreement for a government of
national unity in Zanzibar enters the fourth month,
Ambassador Green met with President Amani Karume July 17.
The Ambassador stressed the importance of tourism to
Zanzibar's economy, noting that revenue from tourism has
replaced the clove trade and other traditional trade
activities as the number one income-earner for Zanzibar. He
emphasized that Americans are particularly are drawn to
Zanzibar as much for its rich history and cultural diversity
as for the two isles' pristine white sand beaches. Karume
expressed the view the that the United States and Zanzibar
have both benefited from diversity and from an influx of
immigrants from many continents. Such cultural blending
brought artistic fruits such as jazz to the United States,
and comparable levels of creativity to Zanzibar. Karume
added that he had seen architecture similar to that of Stone
Town during a tour of Charleston, South Carolina in May.

3. (SBU) President Karume thanked the Ambassador for the
United States' programs and steady support in the health
sector that has drastically reduced the instance of malaria
on both isles of Zanzibar. He also commented on the fruitful
discussion on July 2 with the delegation (NODEL) of three
U.S. Members of Congress concerning the use of wind and solar
power in Zanzibar. Karume said that back up, alternative
sources of energy are critical in face of sharply rising oil
prices. Thus reducing dependency on fossil fuels in energy
generation should be a priority for Tanzania. He said that
this was starkly evident during the prolonged 18-day blackout
in early June in Stone Town and all of Unguja island due to
subsequent damage from a severe short circuit in the Mainland
to Zanzibar cable that supplies Unguja with electricity.
(Note: Pemba Island is electrified by diesel generators and
was not affected by the blackout.)

4. (SBU) The Ambassador pointed out that Unguja Island would
benefit from a Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC)
project that would lay a reliable underwater electric cable.
In addition, the Embassy is looking for opportunities to
attract more U.S. tourists to Zanzibar, for both historic
tourism as well as the renowned beaches. In particular, the
Ambassador is exploring how during President Kikwete's August
2008 official trip to Washington D.C. that Zanzibar's
touristic opportunities could be highlighted.

Pemban elders' petition
-----------------------
5. (SBU) Ambassador Green told President Karume that during
his April 5 visit to Pemba Island, he had a productive
meeting with the regional commissioner and Members of the
Zanzibar House of Representatives. In the afternoon, he had
been approached briefly by four elders who later wrote and

DAR ES SAL 00000461 002.2 OF 002


signed a petition requesting Pemba have its own government
under the Union structure, thus creating a three rather than
the current two government structure. However, the
Ambassador told Karume he did not take that discussion
seriously and had never even seen the petition. Karume
commented that the way in which seven of the Pemban elders
were treated after sending that petition on April 9 to the UN
Development Program--i.e., arrested from their homes at
midnight; held without communication and questioned for
nearly six days, etc.-- was "unfortunate". All seven had
been released on bail while a thorough investigation
continues.

Karume willing to meet on reconciliation
----------------------------------------
6. (SBU) The Ambassador said he planned to return to Pemba in
the near future to inaugurate two mosques in Micheweni that
had been restored by a USG FY06 grant from the Ambassador's
Fund for Cultural Preservation and would notify the Zanzibar
State House in advance of the date. Karume added that he had
noticed the announcement during the visit of the NODEL that
the Embassy had awarded a similar grant to the Kizimkazi
mosque in southern Unguja. He welcomed these efforts to
preserve Zanzibar's history, which also contributes to
attracting more tourists. The Ambassador replied that
continued peace and stability in Zanzibar is equally
essential to keeping tourist levels high. He told President
Karume he wanted to meet soon for a frank discussion on
options and next steps in order to resolve the current
stand-off between the two political parties in Zanzibar.
President Karume said he would be ready to meet on these
concerns at any time.

Comment
-------
7. (SBU) President Karume's statement that he is ready to
discuss reconciliation with the Ambassador should not be
taken as proof of any change in Karume's opposition to
powersharing. He has said to diplomats before that he
supports reconciliation, but his definition of an acceptable
outcome is dramatically different than what CUF or the
diplomatic community believes "reconciliation" requires:
some form of powersharing before 2010.

8. (SBU) Through his discussions with the State House in Dar
es Salaam, the Ambassador has realized that while President
Kikwete has made the public promise to reconcile and reduce
tensions in Zanzibar, Karume and his inner circle need to
clearly understand the USG's strong concerns that substantial
progress on reconciliation has to be made before the end of
this year. Through an exchange of areas of mutual interest
and cooperation at the July 17 meeting with Karume, the
Ambassador is trying to lay the groundwork. He plans to meet
again with President Karume within the next few weeks to
stress the consequences to Zanzibar's economy should
reconciliation not be achieved, including an increased
probability that the run-up to the 2010 elections could
generate an atmosphere of tension, or worse yet violence, in
Unguja or in Pemba.
GREEN

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