The issue of the ratio of representation between the two sides of the United Republic of Tanzania at regional, continental and international level resurfaced yet again yesterday, this time in the Zanzibar House of Representatives.
Hassan Hamad Omar (Kojani) questioned the perceived imbalance in respect of diplomats representing Tanzania abroad as ambassadors or high commissioners, arguing that the representation had little to show about the historical Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Mohammed Aboud Mohammed, Minister of State in the Office of Zanzibar’s Second Vice President, however explained that it is only the Union President who is mandated under Tanzania’s Constitution to appoint people to represent the country in the respective capacities.
The minister said three of the people President Jakaya Kikwete recently picked as Tanzania’s diplomatic representatives in various countries are Zanzibaris.
He named them as including Ramadhan Muombwa, who once served as Secretary General of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council and has been posted to the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Others are Mohamed Hassan Hamza and Ali Ahmed Saleh, now Tanzania’s ambassadors to Egypt and Oman, respectively.
Minister Mohammed added that Mohamed Mwinyi Mzale, also a Zanzibari, still serves as Tanzania’s Ambassador to Sweden alongside being accredited to the other Scandinavian countries. Two ambassadors from Zanzibar have since retired: Ali Karume (Italy) and Omar Ramadhan Mapuri (China).
The minister further explained that the Zanzibar government was working hard to provide youth in the Isles with education on diplomatic issues “to help them benefit from the employment opportunities available from time to time at the (Union) Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry.
He said a total of ten such youth with first degree were studying at the Dar es Salaam-based Centre for Foreign Relations and, upon completion of their studies, “they can compete in employment market in the Union government”.
He added that 40 of the 432 Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry employees are Zanzibaris.
Late last year President Jakaya Kikwete appointed eight ambassadors and high commissioners including Philip Marmo (China), Dr Batilda Burian (Kenya), Dr Diodorus Kamala (Belgium), Dr Ladislaus Komba (Uganda), Shamim Nyanduga (Mozambique), Grace Mujuma (Zambia), Ali Ahmed Saleh (Oman) and Mohamed Hamza (Egypt).