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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Zanzibar Reps faulted over `jobs for Mainlanders` debate

9th April 2012

East African Cooperation deputy minister Dr Abdala Juma Saadalla has strongly criticised Members of the House of Representatives for championing a campaign to deny mainlanders jobs in Zanzibar, saying the lawmakers have poor knowledge on global economic affairs.

The minister advised that Zanzibar should strengthen its tourism college to enable its youth to compete in the employment market.

Speaking to The Guardian in an exclusive interview Dr Saadalla said that the acts by the representatives to deny mainlanders from securing jobs in the isles are a breach of the Union Constitution.

He said according to the 1977 Constitution, every Tanzanian has the right to work at in part of the Union without breaching the law.

Saadalla said the jobs which mainlanders are doing in Zanzibar are legal and similar to those Zanzibaris are doing on Mainland.

“Those who want mainlanders to be denied employments in Zanzibar have poor understanding of global economic issues,” the Minister, who is also the Rahaleo Representative in Zanzibar, said.

He said the motion defended by Members of the House of Representatives from Civic United Front (CUF) and Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has no space in the East African Common market.

Saadalla said allowing the Representatives to debate discriminatory motions in the law making body is a breach of the country’s Constitution since all the Representatives have taken oath to safeguard and defend it.

Kenya has provided opportunity for ten youth from Zanzibar to go to study in Mombasa Tourism College each year but the government has failed to use the chance.

He however said that Rwanda and Burundi are in need of Kiswahili teachers but surprisingly there is no one from the Isles who has applied for the posts.

“Our main problem is laziness…we should not complain that our jobs are being taken by foreigners while there are many posts which we fail to utilise in the East African Community,” Dr Saadalla said.

For his part, Ambassador Ali Karume said that mainlanders have been working in Zanzibar even before the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964.

“I can’t see the reason for denying them jobs while they (including police) have been working here even before the Union was formed,” Karume said.

He said mainlanders cannot be restricted from working in Zanzibar, the area within the Union, because such acts may undermine Union politics and create discrimination among its people.

Said Moyo, who resides at Mwembenjungu Zanzibar, said he does not agree with the idea of denying mainlanders jobs in Zanzibar because doing so would be tantamount to discrimination.

He said it is impossible to set boundaries on jobs within a single nation while there are Zanzibaris working on the the mainland.

On February 5, this year Members of the House of Representatives and the Isles government were at loggerheads when debating an amendment to the Tourism Act which almost ended up in barring mainlanders from securing jobs in Zanzibar.

The debate culminated in a voting by the members to decide whether Mainlanders should continue to seek jobd in the tourism sector in Zanzibar or they should instead be banned so as to retain the same for Zanzibaris.

The episode came after Ismael Jussa Ladhu (Stone Town, CUF) asked the House to consider a section that provides for procedures of employment in the tourism sector when it sat as a committee to approve amendment on the Tourism Act, No. 6 of 2009.

Jussa had said Section 23 (3) of the Bill states that an employee in the tourism sector must be Tanzanian.

“This word Tanzanian must be cancelled and be replaced by the word Zanzibari in order to protect employment for the islanders,” Jussa had said.

The Bill’s Section 23 (3) states that “Any person who does tourism business who has employed a person, who is not Tanzanian to work for him, must receive a written permit from the minister after proving to him that there is no person from within Zanzibar to fill the vacancy.”

Jussa had said, to allow people from the Mainland to work in the tourism sector, was to make foreigners profiteer from the sector, while many Zanzibaris do not have jobs.

However, defending the Union, Culture and Sports minister Abdillah Jihad Hassan intervened and said it was impossible to ban people from the Mainland to access and benefit with employment from Zanzibar because that would be tantamount to going against the international labour laws.

Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, he said, have signed international labour laws and it was impossible to amend laws that go against the international legal regime taking into account that Zanzibar was part of the Union government.

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