‘Going with the Times’ Conflicting Swahili Norms and Values Today

30 09 2009

By Mohamed Ahmed Saleh

in Pat Caplan and Farouk Topan, Swahili Modernity: identity, culture, and politics on the East Coast of Africa, Africa World Press, USA, 2004, p. 145-155.

Kwenda na wakati (literally ‘to go with the times’) is a frequently used phrase which seems to sum up the notion of modernity in Swahili today. In practice, this concept largely refers to corruption and is thus in total contradiction to such norms and values as heshima (respect), uaminifu (honesty), uadilifu (ethics) and ari (honour), all of which have, up to a very recent period, formed the principal moral foundations of Swahili identity and culture. In the present context of Tanzania (of which Zanzibar is an integral part) where corruption is rife to be ‘modern’ means to be able to deviate from the above-mentioned fundamental principles.

This chapter will attempt to look at the evolution during the last four decades
of this new concept of modernity in Tanzania, with particular emphasis on Zanzibar.

It will highlight the impact of foreign influences, such as the socio-political and cultural hegemony of mainland Tanzania, the impact of structural adjustment programmes, as well as the adoption of alien patterns and modes of life, which arrived with in the isles with the tourist boom. The chapter considers whether the development of corruption as an important political and socio-economic institution in post-colonial Tanzania should be considered to be an inevitable part of modernity, or whether people still consider, as in the past, that honesty is the most important social and moral value which defines a person’s existence and worth.
Zanzibari Swahili Identity and Culture: Norms and Values
Geographically and culturally, Zanzibar belongs to that string of islands which extends all along the east African coast, from Lamu to Comoros, where for many centuries Swahili culture and civilisation took shape and flourished(1).

Zanzibar developed into an important melting pot, where migrants from the Arabian peninsular, Persian Gulf, Indian sub-continent, as well as people from other parts of the globe, whether they were initially, invaders or merchants, were integrated in the society and ultimately became part of the social, cultural as well as political construction underlying Zanzibari Swahili identity and culture.

Zanzibar remained by all standards a cultural community, representing a very rich repertoire with multiple compartments within which one can identify different origins in what is now a homogenous Zanzibari Swahili culture. Heshima (respect), uaminifu (honesty), uadilifu (ethics) and ari (honour) are among the major components of this culture transmitted from one generation to another.
The above-mentioned traditional norms and values have always played an
important role in the society and constituted the stabilising factor which allowed the spirit of tolerance to take shape in the Swahili communities of Zanzibar. As an important component of Zanzibari culture, tolerance, which reflects in it heshima (respect), uaminifu (honesty) and uadilifu (ethics), played a vital role in merging together all the different elements of Zanzibari cosmopolitan society.

By discouraging all kinds of discrimination and encouraging mutual understanding tolerance was an important source of strength for Zanzibaris(2). Heshima (respect), uaminifu (honesty), uadilifu (ethics) and ari (honour) were the ideals which each and every Zanzibari family wished to acquire and identified with in order to build-up their good reputation.

As an essential source of recognition in the society, these norms and values were never the attributes of money but of moral and good conduct. One was
never judged by material wealth but by his/her behaviour as well as by his/her wisdom and his/her intellectual contribution to the society. Hence, heshima (respect), uaminifu (honesty), uadilifu (ethics) and ari (honour) were not only the abstract concepts of the Swahili language, but they constituted the basis of day-to-day life in the society. They were the fundamentals of one’s utu, which could literally be translated as dignity and integrity, or even, more than that, i.e. gentleness and goodness for utu also includes in its concept finer qualities of one’s humanity.

Traditional teachings encourage people to be kind and hospitable: they indicate that a good deed lasts and it is hard to erase its effects, while the evil deed never lasts nor is tolerated for long. The major Swahili norms and values connote an attitude of self-restraint. They encourage people to learn by themselves to be self-content and to avoid acts which could compromise their worth and reputation in the society, especially with regard to money. It was a common practice for parents to advise their children to be satisfied
with a small measure and dissuade them from acquiring great gain by wrongful means. It is very clear here that corruption was unacceptable in the society. It was a phenomenon which could tarnish one’s image. This argument is further reinforced by the famous Swahili proverb ‘si hoja kitu bora utu’ which literally means that ‘one’s dignity and integrity is more worthwhile than material object’. Traditional teachings encouraged each and everyone in the society to abstain from greed and the vulgar pleasures of the World. This was why in the eyes of the society, ‘mstaarabu’ a civilised person, was the one who was not only enlightened, self-disciplined and
cherishing his/her utu (dignity and integrity), but also the one who would never tarnish his/her image in exchange for material objects. In this sense corruption in Zanzibari society was synonymous with selling one’s soul. Zanzibari society firmly believed that one’s lawful means of livelihood, even if humble were superior to wealth, which was tainted.

Although, greed and corruption have always existed in all societies, the
Swahili communities of Zanzibar, have their own social system of checks and
balances, hence of discouraging their ramification. This societal control is developed and inculcated into the society in the process of socialisation of the majority of Zanzibaris. Islam, being the religion of the majority of the population, (about 95%), constituted the backdrop and the major reference of the whole process of cultural enlightenment. Starting right from birth the process of socialisation is conducted through the observation of different passage rites as well as religious and moral teachings. Parents have an absolute moral obligation towards God of assuring religious education of their children up to the age of puberty. It is only after this age that parents cease to be accountable for all the deeds of their children, if the latter are
brought-up in conformity with religious obligations. Parents who do not properly assume their religious duty towards their children share the responsibility of all the sins the latter might commit during the rest of their lives.

Similarly, parents have a moral obligation towards society of moulding their
children in such a way that they fit into the pre-established social system, i.e. abide by the code of good conduct in society. ‘Heshima na adabu’ literally courtesy and respect are an integral part of this code of conduct. They are not only due to one’s parents who, according to moral teachings, come next after God in the hierarchical order, but also are to be extended to the rest of the members of society. The Swahili would frequently repeat to their children that one does not pay to be courteous to father and mother. Courtesy is due to all senior to you in years and no less to your contemporaries. While it is acknowledged in the society that courtesy can be the source of friendship and happiness, on the contrary, arrogance is considered to be the source of misfortune, for it produces the fruit of enmity. This is why the Swahili say
asiefunzwa na mamae hufunzwa na ulimwengu’, which literally means s/he who was not well brought-up by his/her mother (parents) will be taught a lesson by the World.

The Swahili widely believe that a person who is burdened with too many curses has no salvation and will end up in damnation. Conscious of their religious and moral obligations towards God and society, Zanzibaris always make sure that they take all the necessary steps to prepare their children to hold fast to devotion and to bring them-up as respected members of the
society. They would always look at their religion in a holistic perspective, i.e., as a fundamental element which lights up the soul and envelops one’s whole personality.

Corruption has always been seen as a source of misfortune as it acts against the fundamental principles of the society, i.e., uaminifu (honesty) and uadilifu (ethics), two major components of what is commonly known as imani, (faith, uprightness and integrity). Imani presupposes constant effort to surpass one’s ego and acquire a capacity of consideration and generosity in the most positive way towards others. It goes even further by encouraging the development of the spirit of sacrifice for others, for small as the sacrifice may be one should never be found lacking. Some of these religious and moral principles are initiated very early in life through different rituals, one among them is kushindiliwa(3). This ritual takes place at birth. It consists of putting a thumb on the neck of a newborn while repeating to him/her that s/he has to
be humble in life, resist temptations and all what is beyond his/her means, and should not be jealous or envious of others. It encourages in its teachings humility, humbleness, and moderation, restraint from greed, temptation and jealousy.

Through customary rites and moral teachings one is brought up to understand life in all its complexities and to believe in the universality of the human race. Honour and pride are among the ideals that are highly valued by the society and are left open for each and every member of the society to strive to acquire. They are the major proofs of one’s worth. These ideals are not contradictory with the other fundamental values of the society, heshima (respect), uaminifu (honesty), uadilifu (ethics) and utu (dignity/integrity). They are in fact complementary and are combined together against shame.

Modernity or Cultural Degeneration?

Growing up in Zanzibar in the 1960s, I can still recall parents, especially
mothers, being very much preoccupied in making sure that their children did not play with wahuni. The latter is a plural of mhuni, which according to John Middleton (1992:192) stands for vagabond. However, in reality mhuni surpasses the notion of vagabond. It connotes bad manners, but also and especially a person who was not well brought-up and who in many ways does not respect the norms and values of the society. Today, when I happen to talk with friends with whom I grew up in Zanzibar, we still wonder who mhuni among us was then, and nobody can come up with an answer, for none of us was a mhuni. This kind of societal pressure was part of traditional efforts of avoiding shame, which was frowned upon in the society, by assuring a descent up-bringing for children and their development of good manners.
Today, it could sound nostalgic to say that for many Zanzibaris the pre-kwenda na wakati (‘going with the times’) period is considered to be that of imani (faith and uprightness) characterised by utu and uadilifu (dignity, integrity and ethics). It was the period when the fundamental values of the society had their place and were well respected. It was the period when people were very much conscious of their honour and would never have dared under any circumstances to compromise their integrity and dignity for the purpose of gaining money or other material benefits.

This was particularly so when Zanzibar was an important centre of gravity,
i.e., a political, economic and cultural centre with its own elite who could influence ideas and give an orientation to its society. It is important to remember here that Zanzibar was one of the important centres of learning in East Africa in religious sciences as well as secular studies. Zanzibari religious scholars studied in Zanzibar, Hadhramaut (Yemen), El Azhar (Egypt), as well as in Medina (Saudi Arabia), and also taught in some of those centres. Other Zanzibari scholars and cadres were trained in Makerere (Uganda) and in Indian, British and American Universities. This allowed them to establish an important exchange network with different religious and secular centres of learning. Up to early 1960s Zanzibar was in the forefront of intellectual
achievement in the region. This was in terms of the production of religious as well as secular learning material. An influential amount of Swahili literature was produced in the country. Zanzibari authors were famous not only in East Africa but also in all the rest of Swahili speaking world. More than 40 journals were produced in Zanzibar since the foundation of the first Gazette of East Africa in 1892(4). Zanzibari Radio programmes were very popular inside and outside the borders of the country. This was the time when it was commonly said ‘if you play the flute at Zanzibar, all Africa as far as the Lakes dances’ (Ingrams:1942:10).

The revolution in Zanzibar, and the subsequent union between Zanzibar and
Tanganyika into the United Republic of Tanzania, meant a transfer of the centre of power from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam, Tanganyika. Furthermore, the postrevolutionary policies of Zanzibar were not at all favourable in maintaining Zanzibari elites in the country. A substantial number of them had to flee from the country to avoid persecution and some were killed, thus leaving an important vacuum which could not be filled. This situation was further accentuated in the aftermath of the revolution by the absence, to date, of free mass media and any other literary or intellectual production free of the ruling party political ideology in Zanzibar. This situation has provoked a major social and cultural erosion in the Zanzibari society.

Stripped off of their major elements of inspiration Zanzibaris were subsequently forced to look at the mainland where their rulers were getting their inspiration. Gradually the mainland’s political and cultural hegemony started to take shape in the islands, initially through their Zanzibari protégés in power who served as their transmission belt and ultimately, through their control on social, cultural and political institutions of Zanzibar. They have an upper hand and an absolute control on the mass media, the educational curriculum as well as on the daily life communication policies. For instance Kwenda na wakati (‘to go with the times’) in this context would be to adapt to the mainland’s way of life, including language. One can see in the daily usage of the Zanzibari Swahili that it is being highly influenced by mainland dialects.

Paradoxically, Zanzibari dialect ‘kiunguja’ was the origin of the standard Swahili language and yet today the Zanzibaris like other Swahilis do not have any control on its evolution, which is being largely determined by mainland dialects. The Swahili spoken in Pemba ‘Kipemba’ had a distinct and particular regional character. It is now disappearing and being replaced by the Swahili spoken in the mainland, particularly Dar Es Salaam. What is most shocking for many Zanzibaris as well as other Swahilis is the imposition in the Swahili language of new words without taking into consideration cultural sensibilities of the Swahili people, who are to be distinguished here with non-Swahili, Swahili speaking population. For instance, the word kusimikwa ‘erected’ created and used by the priests inside the church is being forced now into the language as an accepted word of the vocabulary. For Swahilis this word has a clear sexual connotation and cannot be used in public. Hence, they cannot
understand why they should substitute the existing words kutawadhishwa or
kuapishwa ‘to take oath’ by kusimikwa ‘erected’. Their general feeling is that their language is being corrupted.

During the last four decades Zanzibari Swahili society has been going through
rapid political, social and cultural mutations, which make one wonder whether the new trend leads to the modernity, cultural transformation or degeneration of traditional norms and values?. For instance, today, the spirit of ari (honour) which existed from the time immemorial is challenged by the new spirit of kwenda na wakati (‘to go with the times’). This new concept of modernity has a negative connotation and is in conflicting relation with Zanzibari Swahili traditional norms and values. Modernity in the context of most Swahili societies was more in terms of material and technological innovations or the adoption and transformation of new cultural elements to suit the new needs of the society without destroying its fundamental basis.

The Zanzibari were always in tune with what was going on in the rest of the world. For instance, Zanzibari tailors and dress-makers would be inspired
by and adopt new fashions from places such as Middle East, Europe or America, and give them a local Zanzibari touch. This was very much true with other things too.

Nevertheless, all this was possible and took place when Zanzibar was still the
metropolis of the region and Zanzibaris had their social and cultural destiny in their hands. This is clearly pointed out by Abdul Sheriff (1996): ‘Zanzibaris saw themselves as a distinct race. They developed, modified and elaborated the Kiswahili language until it had spread far and wide into the interior of the mainland. They took great pride in their poetry, their music, their cuisine and their attire. They developed sophisticated court manners, entertained lavishly and were often generous to a fault’.

Being a maritime civilization, nurtured by contacts Swahilis have been always exposed to different aspects of modernity throughout their history. They are known to have been a dynamic people, adapting to new social, economic and political realities of the time. This was one of their important strengths which allowed them to overcome different invasions and to keep on going up to the present time. In this sense, Kwenda na Wakati ‘Going with the Times’ taken as a notion of modernity could simply sound as a déjà vu; for modernity is not at all a new phenomenon in Swahili coastal societies. This argument has some rationality, but, it is very much limited in its scope, for the prevailing situation is more complex than it appears. In spite of different mutations which took place in Swahili communities throughout history, most of their traditional norms and values which formed the core of their identity and culture survived. The Swahili had a particular relationship with money.
There were a lot of taboos surrounding money relationship and no one was ready to be given a feeling that s/he was bought. Just few years ago one had to be very careful when it came to giving money to someone in Zanzibar. People would not accept money if they were made to understand that they were being bribed or were being paid, for example, for their hospitality or generosity. I can still recall an incident when a European woman was a guest in a Zanzibari family. After having spent few weeks with her Zanzibari hosts she thought that she could repay their hospitality with money, and consequently provoked a big crisis. The host family were very hurt thinking that their guest was trying to insult them. They threw back the money in her

face and told her that if she wanted to pay she should have gone to a hotel. There were a number of similar incidents then, but today the situation is totally different.

Historically, the notion kwenda na wakati ‘going with the times’ has never
been used in the Swahili language to connote dynamism in the society. It is a newly introduced concept which developed in Tanzania during the last two decades. Its development occurred in parallel with the rapid development of corruption in the society. Economic recession which led to the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP), the rapid development of tourism and new patterns of consumerism have had a tremendous impact in the society. The new needs as well as the ordinary necessities of daily life transformed Zanzibari society from once well known and hospitable people to profit oriented and money minded fellows. For instance, in a very short period of less than two decades all the taboos related to money are no longer observed. An important breach, which could be termed as a generational conflict, is developing between the elders who would like to preserve the
fundamental values of the society and the young people who are struggling to assure their day-to-day survival through all means.

As I have stated earlier, in the present context of Tanzania where corruption is rife, kwenda na wakati or to be ‘modern’ means being able to deviate from the fundamental principles of Swahili culture. In post-colonial Tanzania corruption has gradually developed to become an important political and socio-economic institution.

Tanzania is in the list of the most corrupt nations in the World. The 1999 findings put Tanzania at the seventh position, after Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Honduras(5). Thus whereas in the past honesty was an important social and moral value of one’s existence and worth, in today Tanzania it is the contrary situation which prevails. Cheating has become part of strategy for survival in many aspects of life. An informal specialised vocabulary has been developing in the Swahili language with particular relation to corruption. Today it is seldom to obtain any administrative service in Tanzania without bribing a civil servant. There is no
election without the use of fraud and intimidation. Ordinary people are left without any moral references except those that they observe from their rulers who are all struggling to maintain their status and excessive standard of living through illegal means, i.e., corruption. Hence, in Tanzania today, honesty is becoming more and more a thing of the past and corruption is becoming an important element of political, economic and social interactions in the society.

Zanzibari Diaspora: Repository of Traditional Norms and Values

Post-revolutionary policies have deprived Zanzibar of its elites -intellectuals
and others-, and the desperate political and economic situation in the country at the present time forces many Zanzibari to look for a better life outside the islands. The most common destinations of Zanzibari emigrants are the Arabian Gulf countries, Europe (especially the U.K and Scandinavia), and North America (Canada and USA).

These countries constitute today the repository of Zanzibari culture, for it is a common phenomenon among emigrant populations to re-emphasise their traditional and cultural values everywhere they go. Zanzibaris of the Diaspora are no exception.

As Mazrui and Shariff (1994) noted ‘identity is in fact, a process by which power and status are negotiated, disinheritance and oppression legitimised, and liberation struggles waged. Intellectual debates on the identity of a particular people, therefore are seldom free of political underpinnings revolving around struggles of dominance and liberation of subjection
and autonomy’.

Zanzibaris of the Diaspora constitute an important political force in the
defence of the identity of their islands and in the struggle for the restoration of democratic rights in the country. Since the early 1980s, for the first time in the history of the country, Zanzibaris of the Diaspora and those remaining in Zanzibar managed to work together to make sure that their country remains in the map of the world.

They continue to maintain their Zanzibari identity. They identify themselves with Zanzibar, and maintain social and cultural networks. They make efforts to reproduce Zanzibari patterns: they have their baraza(6), groups of taarab, speak swahili with their children, maintain and transmit to their children Zanzibari cooking methods and adornments. They regularly exchange information on Zanzibar. They meet to recite prayers in case of a death of a friend or a relative back home. They exchange cassettes of political meetings, taarab or weddings. A substantial number of urban families depend for their livelihood on remittances from the members of their families who live and work abroad. Remittance economy helped to a certain extent to avoid social
explosions in the country.

Hence, Zanzibaris of the Diaspora, particularly those who left before the major economic crisis which started at the end of 1970s and continues to date, are somehow still living in accordance with the traditions and values which were once part of the Zanzibari way of life and pride. They are the repository of their ancestral traditions and cultures. All these elements could very well be an object of comparative study in the future to see how far the
spirit of kwenda na wakati (‘to go with the times’) has managed to transform the traditional norms and values of Zanzibari Swahili society, and also to see how far the same norms and values managed to survive without being totally destroyed by those of the host countries.
(1) The Swahili cultural influence extends about 3000 kilometres all along the East African Coast, from Brava (Somalia) up to Sofala (Mozambique), including adjacent islands, notably Lamu, Mombasa, Pemba and Unguja (Zanzibar), Mafia, Kilwa and the Comoros. See Middleton, John (1992), The World of the Swahili; Penrad, Jean-Claude (1995), ‘Zanzibar, Les Cités Swahili: Rivages imaginaries et découverte d’un espace’; Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed (1996), ‘Zanzibar et le monde Swahili’; Hall, Richard (1996), The Empires of the Monsoon; and Lodhi, Abdulaziz (2000), Oriental Influences in Swahili: A Study of Language and Culture Contacts.
(2) This aspect is developed in my article ‘Tolerance: The Principal Foundation of the Cosmopolitan Society of Zanzibar’, (2002), Cultures of the World Journal, Barcelona, Spain. See also Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed (1997), ‘Kiswahili: Patience, humilité et dépassement moral’; Al-Barwany, Ali Muhsin (1997), Conflicts and Harmony in Zanzibar; Bakari, Mohamed Ali (2001), The
Democratisation Process in Zanzibar: A Retarded Transition.
(3) Apprenticing of sentiment of humility, of reservation, of moderation and of self-retaining. It is a common action in the whole Swahili World; see Saleh,
Mohamed Ahmed, (1995), Les Pêcheurs de Zanzibar: Transformations socioéconomiques et permanence d’un système de représentation, Mémoire pour le Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies, EHESS, Paris, p. 81.
(4) Nuru, government weekly and Jukwaa owned by a businessman, a staunch ally of the ruling party, are the only allowed local newspapers of Zanzibar.
(5) Odhiambo, Nicodemus (October 30, 1999) Panafrican News Agency,
(6) Defined as a place of public audience or reception, a veranda, a stone seat in the entrance hall or against the wall outside a house or a raised platform with stone seats and sometimes roofed over in front of the house, for receiving visitors, holding an audience, transacting business, for gossiping in, etc. It is a male place of socialization par excellence with contrast to ua (courtyard), where female members of the society get together for their talks and their domestic activities. See Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed (1997), ‘Zanzibari Diaspora: Identity and Nationalism’

Al-Barwany, Ali Muhsin, (1997), Conflict and Harmony in Zanzibar, (Memoirs), Dubai.
Bakari, Mohamed Ali, (2001), The Democratisation Process in Zanzibar: A Retarded Transition, Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs.
Hall, Richard, (1996), Empires of the Monsoon: A History of the Indian Ocean and Its Invaders, London, Harper Collins Publishers.
Ingrams, W.H (1942), Arabia and the Isles, London, John Murray.
Lodhi, Abdulaziz, (2000), Oriental Influences in Swahili : A Study in Language and Culture Contacts, Göteborg, Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis.
Mazrui, Alamin and Shariff, Ibrahim Noor, (1994), The Swahili : Idiom and Identity of an African People, Trenton, New Jersey, Africa World Press, Inc.
Middleton, John, (1992), The World of the Swahili: An African Mercantile
, Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
Pearson, Michael, (1998), Port Cities and Intruders. The Swahili Coast, India, and Portugal in the Early Modern Era, Baltimore and London, The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Penrad, Jean-Claude, (1995), ‘Zanzibar, Les Cités Swahili : Rivages imaginaires et découverte d’un espace’, Journal des Anthropologues, Paris, 61/62, automne.
Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed, (1995), Les Pêcheurs de Zanzibar: Transformations socioéconomiques et permanence d’un système de représentation, Mémoire pour le Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies, EHESS, Paris,
Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed, (1996), ‘Zanzibar et le monde Swahili’, Afrique
Paris, Trimestriel N° 177, janvier – mars, La documentation
Française, pp. 17-29.
Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed, (1997), ‘Zanzibari Diaspora: Identity and Nationalism’, Western Indian Ocean A Cultural Corridor, Stockholm, Department of Social Anthropology of Stockholm University.
Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed, (1997), ‘Kiswahili : Patience, humilité et dépassement moral’, Dire la Tolérance, Paris, UNESCO – Praxiling, pp. 65-66.
Saleh, Mohamed Ahmed, (2002), ‘Tolerance: The Principal Foundation of the
Cosmopolitan Society of Zanzibar’, Cultures of the World Journal, March, Barcelona, Spain.
Sheriff, Abdul, (1996), Historical Zanzibar – Romance of the Ages, London, HSP Publications.



30 09 2009

By Dr Harith Ghassany

1.0 Introduction

At the outset, it is necessary to try to avoid a kind of policy-evidence dualism in a proposal that looks at how a Zanzibari research-to-policy-making institute such as ZIRPP can use evidence to make policy and planning decisions in Zanzibar.

The empirical approach assumes that there is evidence which policy-makers can use to make policy decisions but does not ask if there are policies to guide policy-makers to demand research results.

A government policy statement to support research and its implementation in public policy-making is therefore an important cornerstone in establishing and sustaining the Institute in Zanzibari settings.

Secondly, given the fact that Zanzibari human resources are outside Zanzibar, it is therefore necessary that the constitution of the ZIRPP should be able to accommodate the establishment of an overseas branch or branches of the Institute.

The specific objectives of the ZIRPP may include:

• A description of the work and responsibilities of Zanzibari policy-makers, and understand the types of decisions s/he makes, and/or his/her role in the policy-making process.
• Establish the distinction between a public-policy maker and public-policy-pursuant. What is the criteria of considering someone a public-policy maker within Zanzibari settings?
• Sources of information the person uses to make decisions, examples of how information has been used, and description of the major constraints on using research evidence.
• Exposure to research, the value the policy-maker places on research, and suggestions for how to increase engagement of policy-makers in research.
• Understanding of the types of research evidence policy-makers find most useful in making decisions, and description of ways to increase their use of research findings.
• A specific area of investigation will be the perceived utility of research findings on costs of implementation of interventions and their cost-effectiveness, and findings on the degree to which people with different levels of wealth or economic status derive benefit from public-policy interventions or programs (equity).
• The most important principle that used was to identify decision-makers who were clearly acting at the national level, as the focus of the study is at the national (central/federal) level of decision-making.

1.1 Zanzibari Public-Policy Strategy

Is the Zanzibari public-policy-making strategy guided by the old managerial (process-based) or the strategic (results-based) approach? The results-based (outcomes) strategic approach aims at planning for the future and not just focus on current problems (processes).

A clear assessment is needed of the impact on research and public-policy planning from the managerial process of setting the public-policy agenda to the results-based strategic planning of the public institutions in Zanzibar.

What is fundamental is that Zanzibar is running a “free” of payment public-policy service to all her citizens. To what extent is the results-based strategic planning for free public services in Zanzibar is informed by evidence-based public policy-making? And what is the degree of citizen’s satisfaction with the free public services at their disposal? At the moment the two questions are not linked to provide evidence-based answers.

An important factor here is to consider whether a Zanzibari public policy-maker is first and foremost responding to an external or internal strategic outlook.

1.2 Policy-makers and Research in Zanzibari Settings

Has the Zanzibar Government invested in a highly illustrious group of public-policy professionals?

Who are they and are they in the right institutions at the right time?

1.3 Setting the Zanzibar public policy agenda

How is the national public- policy agenda of Zanzibar decided? What is the criteria for selecting the participants and who votes and who does not and at what levels of responsibility. Table 1 below
highlights the possible methods used in setting Zanzibar’s public-policy agenda.

Table 1: Methods Used in Setting the Zanzibari Public-Policy Agenda

1. Problems as they relate to availability of services.
2. Brainstorming.
3. Scoring method.
4. Ministries involved.
5. Social voting.
6. Incidence of public problems, there is no voting.
7. Program director.
8. Decisions made by ministers.
9. No one is neglected.
10. Program director.
11. Program managers.
12. That is actually not clear.
13. All involved.
14. By consensus. Scoring.

We need a needs-assessment survey and sample narratives on how some national public policy-makers perceive the process of setting the national public-policy agenda in Zanzibar:

1.4 Sources of information

Is there a Directorate-General of Planning, Information and Statistics Department which captures routine data from public institutions and is it on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis? Is there a functioning Directorate of Research and Studies? Are there regional data collecting points and to what extent are they decentralized at the operational level? Are there statisticians in all public institutions and at different levels? The regions should ideally collect detailed statistics and information data from all the districts (wilayats) and feeds it to the central level.

Table 2: Sources of Information for Policy Makers in Zanzibar

1. Community-based studies and patients’ health service utilization data.
2. Statistical data.
3. Reports, WHO short-term consultants, our own surveys.
4. Peer-reviewed journals and own research.
5. Surveys, statistics.
6. Personal observations on what is going on in the community, newspapers, radio.
7. Hospital data and our own community surveys.
8. Ongoing surveillance national data which we generate, articles I regional and international journals, information and articles from WHO.
9. Ministry’s annual monitoring reports and international reports.
10. Statistics of hospital attendances.
11. Journal articles.
12. Outpatient service data.
13. Ministry’s statistics.
14. WHO/EMRO, UNESCO, FAO, meetings, internet and reading.
15. We do our own research

According to the interviewees the most effective channels for them to be exposed to current research are presentations at meetings, workshops, and articles. Is research evidence such as equity and costs available to Zanzibari policy-makers.

1.5 Costs and equity.

There is a marked ambivalence among policy-makers towards the importance of considering costs and equity in decision-making.

Lack of evidence-based studies has in some important cases led to inconclusive results and consequently to no or weak policies.

Equity and costs are key issues which are important not just to the public services providers but to the citizens who are using those services. Cost is about the wealth of the country and equity is about how that wealth is distributed amongst her people. Do Zanzibari policy-makers express the importance of having research results on costs and equity but at the moment these two specific items are not present in making their policy and planning decisions.

Generally, do Zanzibari public-policy makers sit with researchers in an official forum or committee for the purpose of enriching policies with research results?

1.6 Official contact between policy-makers and researchers

is there an official contact between policy-makers and researchers through an official forum as expressed in the following responses in table 3 below:

Table 3: Contact between Policy Makers & Researchers

1. There is no regular forum where researchers and policy-makers meet.
2. No, basically because we are a service provider and not a research organization.
3. Oh yes. We have a national committee here in the Ministry of…
4. No. They call us when there is something related to us.
5. No.
6. It is done but not in formal committees. There is no committee/forum to discuss such issues.
7. No.
8. There is nothing new in that. Have we evaluated our current research studies from a research point of view?
9. I don’t think we have that.
10. There is a forum but I am not personally involved…I keep motivating them and encouraging them to make more research in the health field.
11. No.
12. Definitely and it was of value to me.
13. Not really. We don’t have that at all. We do it ourselves. We have our body of researchers here.
14. There is no regular forum here where researchers and policy-makers meet.

Despite the fact that policy-makers and researchers do not sit together, is there a public policy-maker who does not consult research results in planning their decisions?

1.7 The Role of Research in Policy-Making: The Views of Policy-Makers

Policy-makers selectively and invariably use certain sources of information in their decision-making. Is the value of research recognized by the senior policy-maker. Without research a decision can be based on personal views or impressions which may not reflect realities on the ground.

What happens when there is strong awareness of the importance of research in policy-making when research itself is absent?

1.8 Increasing the Need to Promote Your Ideas

Some policy-makers do find it very difficult to sell their decision to those higher in authority. Justifications vary according to the policy-maker and the decision which has to be sold. To a particular policy-maker, what makes it difficult for him to sell his ideas is that senior policy-makers are not sure of the extent of the problem. The argument is that even if a middle management policy-maker provides them with data, the question to top management policy-makers is “is it a real problem or not? It is a problem of awareness and level of understanding and the interference of personal interests in the decision-making.

1.9 The Need for Public-Policy to be Better Informed by Evidence

Regardless of the many factors which may play a role in increasing the need of policy-makers to sell their ideas, the need for Zanzibari public policy-makers to be better informed by research evidence seems to represent a deeper need. This is an area of rich insights that clearly indicates how health policy-makers in Zanzibar view sound policy-making by deepening and expanding research evidence. The recommendations are a combination of a bottom-up approach, proper dissemination of research results to policy-makers, and changing the methods or style of doing research.

2.0 Aspects of Research That Interest Policy-Makers

Zanzibaari public policy-makers are interested in which aspects of research results? There are those who are interested in surveys; doing and reading research results; criticize the methodology; what people think and their attitudes; public statistics; the outcome of research; and the public aspect of research results.

Some policy-makers may be interested in applied/operational research which does not match the motivations of an academician, i.e. academic promotion, etc

2.1 Kinds of Research Policy-Makers Would Like to Commission

Within policy-makers’ circles is a there a conflict in the perception of the kinds of research that they would like to commission?

Table 4 below highlights examples of research demanded by public policy-makers in the area of health.

Table 4: Research Demanded by Policy-Makers

1. Patient safety and performance indicators of the health services.
2. Work stress, injury, and the change in morbidity in the industrial area, the policy of industrialization and its social and health impacts.
3. Economic costs of non-communicable diseases.
4. Community surveys on mental illnesses.
5. Assessment of statistics graduates and the use of computers in hospitals.
6. Lifestyle and the impact of the media and globalization on their behavior.
7. More research on adolescents, women and child abuse, and violence.
8. Health services user satisfaction.
9. Evaluate our services and how they will look like in the next 15 years.
10. How to solve the anemia problem in the country.
11. Equity-based health research.
12. Cost-effectiveness or burden of disease.
13. Human resources and training which will give us the right numbers which will produce better outcomes.
14. Cultural and behavioral aspects of Aids.
15. TB, HIV among certain communities.

As indicated above, the main areas of research needed as per the policy-makers’ responses can be categorized into six main areas which are not in any order of priority.

 Patient satisfaction and safety
 Cost-effectiveness or burden of disease
 Community surveys on mental illness
 Human resources development and management: assessment of statistics graduates and the use of computers in hospitals, right numbers and level of training to produce better results
 Lifestyle diseases: anemia, TB, HIV, Breculosis, women and child abuse and violence, impact of media and globalization on health
 Health impact of work, industrialization, tourism

2.2 The Research-to-Policy Gap

Lack of research capacity which creates a research community in Zanzibar in general remains to be the main deficit. A culture of critical inquiry – research – has to be “introduced into the teachers and students very early on in the educational system and at later stages. Zanzibar does not have that at the moment. You build the capacity while you grow. You don’t expect each and every student to be a researcher but to at least appreciate research. A major part of public policy is how aware the public is about evidence-based research.”

It is not helpful to look at the problem of lack of research capacity as simply a problem of researchers or of policy-makers. There is first the need to create genuine awareness among the few and most senior public policy-makers on the importance of evidence-based policy and convince them to promote an enlightened advocacy among the highest echelons in the country. More than one track approach education to promote research-to-health policy awareness will be needed and various models will have to be studied including the United Nations University Model (UNU) model.

A huge task which requires tremendous political will is to erect health research awareness or at least appreciation throughout the educational ladder. That would be the ultimate aim. Short of that and from a human resource development point of view will be to invest more in researchers at higher education levels. The transfer benefits will go beyond public-policy research if properly trained teachers who combine the best from the East and the West will train the next generation of Zanzibaris to think more critically, and disseminate research appreciation.

2.3 Dissemination of Research Results

A policy-maker complains that research is done and the reports are prepared but policy-makers are too busy to read reports and may be they do not read what is written between the lines. “They need someone to help them” or/and provide them with “better readable materials.” The research results are often written in English or in two or three briefings and not the Kiswahili newspapers. policies.

Policy-makers should not be given the bulk of the research results. They should be given what interests them which should be what they need, and not everything. There should be a strategic marketing plan to decide which research results “end up in seminars, flyers, group presentations, booklets, radio, TV, libraries, bookstores.”

Research must decide how policy-makers and the general population get their information. It is very crucial to establish the reading-per-capita for a country like Zanzibar. In some cases word of mouth may be the best strategy but even this assumption must be based on evidence and reputable media research consultants can provide some good insights to work with.

“Results are not disseminated in the proper way… We don’t read. We need more discussions, more town meetings and media campaign for the public to understand. When they publish results they just put them in the newspapers giving percentages. What sense can an ordinary person make of that?”

2.4 Conclusion

Zanzibar’s human resources and financial wealth is disproportionately with the Zanzibaris in the diaspora and therefore it is imperative that an organic link be established between internal and external branches of the Zanzibar Institute for Research and Public Policy.

Clearly, there is a need to address the current research-to-policy gap in Zanzibar. While the organizational make-up or location of such an entity needs to be thought out more carefully, its main remit would be to forge a close working relationship with the mass media to inform the public on research-to-policy findings and related current activities taking place in Zanzibar

A research-to-public policy-driven Institute working out of Zanzibar and overseas needs to invest primarily in the field by bringing together the brains and pockets of Zanzibaris to work together with the Zanzibari communities according to defensible evidence-based strategies and results.

Nisar Sheraly’s comments on ZIRPP establishment

30 09 2009

Hereunder is what I had mentioned to you about 2 years ago when I returned from my workshop on Folktales during ZIFF festival of the Dhow Countries, the year ZIORI was born, and then put on paper which I circulated to a few for their input. I am glad Yussuf and you and the others are aiming at the same thing:

Transfer of Technology and Best Practices to Zanzibar by Zanzibaris in Diaspora

The President of Zanzibar recently mentioned to the Tanzanian ambassadors that they were in a good position to help the government reach its goals by sharing the experiences they see in foreign countries and teach Tanzanians the best practices for advancing agriculture. I propose to take it further. We need to cover as many areas as possible. The ambassadors may not be experts in the area concerned. Hence besides agriculture, we should consider tourism, small scale industries, canning, financing small businesses, education, retaining and promoting culture, delivery of medical services, insurance, power generation and others. We have Zanzibaris who have lived and worked abroad and are now retired. They return to their birthplace as tourists and for nostalgia. I am sure when asked, they will be more than happy to offer their expertise and experience to our beloved Islands. Hereunder, I have put together some of my thoughts:

Zanzibar is poised to take off in the 21st Century. Utilize local talent to achieve its goals. Identify areas of concern. Invite retired Zanzibaris from Diaspora to contribute towards its progress. Study the present status. Compare with past experience and present practices. Recommend best practices suited to Zanzibar. Conduct annual review. Once the areas to be tackled are identified, we identify Zanzibaris who have worked in the field abroad and are willing to offer their services. The mode of identification has to be charted out. I have a few names, especially those I had gone to school with in Zanzibar. When the right candidates are confirmed, they may be asked to come to Zanzibar at the same time. The participants may be offered airfare and accommodation. They may be given accommodation in Government Quarters. I do not think they will ask for remuneration. I am sure they will be honoured and excited to be asked to contribute their expertise and plough back into their country of birth.
Duration of study:
About 4 weeks preferably in July to coincide with the Dhow Festival. And the weather is amenable at that time.
Source of funding:
Donor countries and organizations such as CIDA interested in promoting self sufficiency and capacity building in the “Third World” countries could be approached. The contribution by Zanzibar will be accommodation and transportation locally.
Suggested Schedule:
Week 1: Acquaint with the Ministry concerned and know the key players.
Week 2: Study the activities of areas of concern.
Week 3: Float suggestions. Identify areas of improvement with the personnel in the Ministry.
Week 4: Implement some of the suggestions. Meeting and sharing observations amongst the retirees from abroad together with policy makers. Both parties maintain contact over a year and review achievement at the end of it.
I would love to be part of the project in whatever capacity needed especially in education and culture and facilitating the project as well.
Muhammad Yussuf: In my humble opinion, the Zanzibar Institute for Research on Public Policy – a non profit-making think-tank – shall be established with the objective of conducting research on major political, social and economic issues of Zanzibar as well as the economic and cooperative relationship between Zanzibar and the neighbouring states, particularly, the Mainland Tanzania.
Independent Nature of the Institute
The Institute shall not be affiliated with any political party or political organization, nor shall participate in political or electoral campaigns, nor shall nominate or endorse candidates for elections. No member of the Institute shall be allowed to run in any elections under the name of the Institute. Staff of the Institute shall not be allowed to take part in election campaigns or elections activities sponsored by political parties.
Working Principles
Zanzibar is an integral part of Tanzania and, therefore, the two should strive to work together for prosperity and development. The Institute may wish to uphold the principles of “One Country Two Systems”: High autonomy for Zanzibar; Zanzibari people ruling Zanzibar; Zanzibar should work incessantly for its own good; develop its own community and maintain close links with the international community; keep in mind the overall and long-term interests of Zanzibar; respect and defend the rights and interests of individual groups. The Institute shall recognize also that public policy should be laid down with due consideration of knowledge, research, open discussion and public participation. Respect public opinion: recognizes the importance of mass media in influencing public policy. Public policy research should be done independently, objectively and constructively in order to put forward proposals and suggestions on political, economic and social issues. Research findings should be open to public scrutiny when appropriate. The Institute shall participate in the making of the public policy, organize and take part in the discussions of public policy with open mind. The Institute shall strive to become a highly esteemed and respectable opinion think-tank in an open, pluralistic and knowledge-based society.
The Governing Board of the Institute shall be responsible for setting the basic policy of the Institute. The Executive Office shall be responsible for planning and execution of the Institute’s programme of work. The Institute shall also invite individuals of social standing to form an Advisory Council to provide opinion on its operation. Administrative responsibilities shall be taken up by a team of full-time salaried staff. Initially, its pool of research staff shall be recruited locally, including Zanzibari graduates from the Zanzibar and Mainland universities and/or other institutions of higher learning; and from Zanzibaris living overseas on a voluntary basis.
Other than research work, the Institute shall sponsor academic and professional research projects. Where appropriate, it shall collaborate with experts, academic institutions and professional organizations. Diverse opinion from experts of various fields and professions shall be solicited and received with due consideration in researches and making policy proposals. The Institute shall be working closely with academic institutions as well as commercial and industrial institutions in conducting studies related to economic development and government policies of Zanzibar. The Institute shall strive to maintain important links and working relationship with policy research institutes on the Mainland and shall regularly organize joint seminars, workshops and talks to foster, among local business, better understanding of both the Union and Zanzibar Government policies; as well as to promote social, economic, commercial and academic exchanges between Zanzibar and the Mainland. The Institute shall submit its research findings and recommendations to the Zanzibar Government and/or to other Governments and organizations interested in the results. Research findings involving public interest shall, for the most part, open to public scrutiny, where pertinent and constructive criticisms shall seriously be taken into account.
Areas of Work
The Institute shall primarily, though not exclusively, concentrate on the following five areas:
1. The Political, Economic and Social Development of Zanzibar;
2. The Theory and Implementation of the Concept of “One Country Two Systems”;
3. The Social, Economic and Political Relationship Between Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland in Particular and the Neighbouring States of East African Community including Mauritius, Sychelles, the Comoros and Madagascar in general;
4. The Promotion of the Intellectual and Cultural Exchanges in the above-mentioned topics; and
5. The Promotion of the Research Findings of the Institute.
To assist in researches and encourage intellectual exchanges, the Institute shall hold seminars and conferences. Scholars and experts from the Mainland and abroad shall be invited to share their opinions, insights and research findings for the benefits of all. In addition, the Institute shall organize reciprocal visits and study tours for academics and for the business sectors between Zanzibar and the Mainland on regular basis with the view to cultivating deeper understanding of the political, social and economic conditions of both communities.
The Institute shall publish its own research findings for public circulation. It shall also seek to publish related studies by other experts and scholars.
The Institute shall maintain a library and a data bank that provides easy access to reference books, newspaper clippings, and other type of information. It shall strive to have a conference room with a capacity of at least 40-50 people for seminars and discussions. The Institute shall strive to assist and sponsor visiting scholars and experts from the Mainland and abroad for both long-term and short-term research work/studies at the Institute.

Ramzanali Parvana’s comments on ZIRPP establishment

30 09 2009

Congratulations on taking the initiative to look into the serious prospects of establishing a body of the kind that you have outlined in your email.

This is long overdue because Zanzibar and its populace is in dire need of a navigable “road map” – first to catch up with the rest of the world and then to take off into the 22nd century! My heart bled when I visited this “Slice of Heaven” two years ago and saw the condition of the ordinary Zanzibari!

The Island has immense resources of assorted kinds that can be identified, harnessed and then developed for the benefit of the nation and more so for the inhabitants of this beautiful Island.

We live in a global village and therefore we have to be mindful of what we do for ourselves and our umma such that there is no conflict of interest within the Island or with its immediate neighbours, or with the continent or the world itself.

This means that somewhere along the mandate of this august and responsible body, there will have to be provision made to accommodate some kind of direct or indirect involvement of other players who are located beyond the shores of Zanzibar!

Having said that, it is very vital that the Zanzibaris themselves should have the final say and have absolute and total control over their own destiny. Imported ideas, proposals, development plans and investment projects often come with chains attached to them.

This phenomenon is obvious for all of us to see IF we look “critically as well as objectively” at some other communities where gradually, foreign influence – under the guise of mentors, financiers, advisers, developers, investors and in some cases the NGOs – has been “allowed” gradually and subtly to take full charge at the helm of the vessel of future of the community.

The most common fall out is that the common man on the street is always left high and dry as the benefits of the “reforms” and development never reach his shack!

Zanzibar and Zanzibaris MUST avoid this common pitfall for it is not only common but the offer of involvement by outsiders is normally “gift packaged” to make it look attractive and to camouflage its real contents and its ultimate goal.

Zanzibar is still “pure and innocent” compared to its neighbours. While the standard of life and therefore the standard of living of ALL ZANZIBARIS must be improved, it is imperative that the culture, traditions and the overall ambiance of the way of life of Zanzibar NOT BE SACRIFICED at the alter of development!

Cell phones, computers, super highways of communication, giant airports to accommodate super planes, deep harbours to anchor huge ocean liners, 10 star hotels to pamper the millionaires and other such visual landmarks MAY be important, necessary and or termed as development BUT……… that is just a very tiny segment of what MAY be required in the long run – IF REALLY NECESSARY.

Therefore the first MORAL responsibility of the ZANZIBAR INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH AND PUBLIC POLICY will be to involve the locals at GRASS ROOT levels so as to get their input for identifying their immediate needs.

What springs to my mind is a list containing items such as universal health, universal education, improved and stable ways of earning sustained livelihood, all weather basic shelter shelter, clean running and drinking water, personal safety of the umma, waste matter management, recycling for local industry, improvements in the farming sector, regaining control over the natural resources both on land and at sea….. the list is endless!

Zanzibari diaspora of doctors and lawyers and teachers and professors and planners and other professionals….. ALL of them are vital cogs in this wheel of change but there will be a time and a place for all these noble individuals to participate in this JIHAAD!

The fist chance MUST be given to the sons of the soil now living on the Island. In MY own personal view, it is time for the fish monger, the coconut vendor, the seaweed harvester, the water carrier, the waiter at a foreign owned resort, the muhogo seller, the owner of the small joisk at the vegetable and meat markets, the little girl selling mandazi at the street corner, the boy struggling to scratch a living selling jugu karanga and thousands of others in their mold to be given a break NOW!

Let us collectively – not only keep on thinking and planning BUT lets us – start the ball rolling because every day we dilly dally and procrastinate, more opportunities are lost and the situation is going from bad to worse!

I take this opportunity to thank you for kick starting this idea and I will pray to Allah SWT to bless you and guide you to success. I believe that serving humanity is serving Allah! Take care and keep in touch.

PS: I am not a Zanzibari but just a few months before the trauma of 45 years ago, I had visited the Island for a month and made a firm decision that I would settle in Zanzibar for the rest of my life as soon as I completed my teachers’ training course at Nairobi’s Kenyatta University.

I am 65 years old today and freezing to death in the arctic Canada! However, my 45 years’ old dream is still alive and strong. I will one day land on the shores of Zanzibar and spend the remaining few days of my life in peace, and when my days are done and Allah SWT sends His Angel to take me to Him, I hope and pray that my tired and worn out body will be laid to rest on the Island after my last sunset on this earth. Insha-allah. If possible, please forward this email of mine to those who have been participating in this forum – IF YOU CAN. Shukran jazeeran.

Maoni ya Prof. Haroub juu ya uanzishwaji wa ZIRPP

30 09 2009

Mohamed, nashukuru kwa kuja ofisini kwangu Zanzibar na kuniarifu juu ya azma ya kuanzisha ZIRPP, na kwa kutumiwa mjadala unaondolea juu ya suali hili. Kwa hakika nalifikiri yote ni kwa taarifa yangu mpaka pale uliponizinduwa tulipokutana pale mazikoni wiki iliyopita na kunitaka nichangie.

Kwanza ni jambo jema. Taasisi kama hiyo, na nyengine nyingi, inahitajika visiwani. Nakumbuka mwaka 1992, Dk Ahmed Gurnah wa Sheffield, Uingereza, alipokuja Zanzibar kwenye mkutano juu ya historia, alizungumza na baadhi yetu juu ya kuanzisha ‘Institute of Economic and Social Research’; na aliporejea aliandika ‘paper’ juu ya jambo hili na hata kuelezea kuwa alikuwa tayari kuchukuwa ‘early retirement’ ili kufanya shughuli hiyo.

Lakini kama ujuavyo, kila jambo na wakati wake. Na ule haukuwa wakati wake. Ingefaa ukamuomba akakutumia hiyo ‘paper’, labda itakupa mwangaza kidogo.

Kutokana na ‘inspiration’ ile tuliopata kutoka kwa Ahmed, mwaka jana mimi, Prof Issa Shivji na Prof Abdul Sheriff tumeanzisha ‘Zanzibar Indian Ocean Research Institute’ (ZIORI), makusudio yake yakiwa mapana kuliko yale aliyoyafikiria Ahmed na ambayo unayafikiria wewe. Ahmed tulimuomba na amekubali kuwa katika Bodi ya Washauri, wengine wakiwa wanatoka Kenya, Emirates, Malaysia, Canada, n.k.

Tulitoka ‘ukumbi’ Ogasti mwaka jana kwa kufanya mkutano mkubwa wa kimataifa Zanzibar ambao ulihudhuriwa na watu zaidi ya 150.

Makala zilizowasilishwa kwenye mkutano huo sasa zinahaririwa ili kutowa kitabu. Ukiangalia website ya ZIORI utaona nini madhumuni yake; au unaweza kutembelea ofisi zake pale nyuma ya SUZA na karibu na msikiti wa Seyyid Alawi.

Kutokana na uzoefu wangu wa kuongoza ‘Zanzibar Legal Services Centre’ kwa miaka 17 sasa napenda kukushauri kama ifuatavyo:

1. Kuna njia tatu za usajili: kama NGO, educational institution au company. Bahati mbaya NGO Act ina mapungufu mengi na ijapokuwa kumekuwa na ahadi kwa muda sasa kwamba itaangaliwa upya, hilo halionyeshi kwamba litafanyika leo au kesho. Kusajili kama educational institution kuna urasimu wake na madaraka makubwa anayo anaesajili. Ijapokuwa kusajili kama company ni rahisi kiurasimu, lakini baadhi ya wafadhili huwa hawapendelei kusaidia kitu kinachoitwa ‘company’. Kwa hivyo hao wataoandaa Katiba/Articles of Association wayajue haya.

2. Taasisi kama hii itahitaji iwe, na kwa mazingira ya kwetu, ionekane kuwa non-partisan, objective katika tafiti zake, na isiwe inafanya shughuli kwa kupendelea au kujipendekeza kwa mtu, kikundi au jumuiya yeyote ile.

Ili tafiti/maandishi/mapendekezo yake yakubalike itabidi wayatoayo hayo wawe ni watu wenye ujuzi katika fani zao na wanaoaminika kuwa wanaongozwa na ukweli.

3. Wataoongoza taasisi hiyo wawe ni watu waadilifu na wenye kuaminika na kukubalika kijamii na kitaaluma, na wataokuwa tayari kuwaongoza na kuwaendeleza vijana ili kizazi kipya kikuwe.

4. Taasisi kama hiyo ili ifanikishe malengo yake itahitaji misaada/michango ya kila aina na kutoka sehemu mbali mbali. Itabidi kwanza kuangalia kwamba misaada/michango haiitowi taasisi kutoka malengo yake; na kwamba kila kinachoingia kinatumiwa vizuri na kwa malengo yaliokusudiwa. Heshima ya taasisi na wale wanaohusika nayo inaweza kupotea kwa sababu ya ubadhirifu, uzembe, uchotaji na matumizi mabaya. Iwe marufuku kwa mtu kuitumia taasisi kwa manufaa yake. Zamani ilikuwa inawezekana ukigombana na SIDA ukakimbilia kwa DANIDA, au ukikosana na FNF ukaenda kwa FES.

Leo “with common European foreign policy”, ukikwaana na mmoja ndio umejichongea kwa wote.

Kwa leo nimalizie hapa. Nakutakia kila la kheri.

Rosa Ecklle’s comments on ZIRPP establishment

30 09 2009

Generally I think this is a wonderful idea: pooling the capacities of many capable Zanzibaris to put them to good use for improving public policy in Zanzibar.

My mother, Mariam Olban Ali forwarded this mail to me after I expressed my wish to do something related directly to Tanzania and working in a think-tank or NGO.

Currently I am working for the German development bank (German bilateral aid with developing countries) where I am responsible for managing development projects on health and education financed by the German government, in particular case in African countries.

A few questions remain in my mind as to the set up of such a think tank. I am wondering what the position of the think-tank will be in relation with the Zanzibar government.

If the think-tank wants to act as a public policy advisor and evaluator of Zanzibar public policy, it needs to ensure that a constant dialogue with the government so that the work of the think-tank is actually being heard by the government.

How to ensure such an independent and yet close dialogue? Also, I think an overlooked aspect of the think-tank could also be to strengthen or engage NGOs in this public policy discussion.

I find Zanzibar has a lot of NGOs on specific issues (gender, education, etc.) but are not aware of the wider public policy issues surrounding these topics.

At the same time the think-tank could profit from the experience of these NGOs in certain public policy fields. Hence the “target group” should not only be the government but all other relevant actors in public policy.

Another area that needs some thought concerns the membership profile of the think-tank: who can become a member? What are the pre-requisites and is it fully volunteer-based? Will there be permanent staff or only membership-based volunteers? If there is no permanent staff, how can adequate coordination and administration be ensured? This is also linked to the issue of funding: If there is permanent staff will they be salaried? Where to generally get funding not only for salaries but to actually conduct serious research? I look forward to further exchanging ideas on this promising initiative!

Ms Zeyana’s comments on ZIRPP establishment

30 09 2009

Well, well at last. The islands will not sink. First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Zeyana Abdulla Hamid. I am a Zanzibari, still in school taking MSc in Health Informatics and MSc in Health Administration at the University of Missouri, Columbia. I am so determined to go back home after completing my study programme though blindly I do not even know where to start when I get there. People think that I am crazy with my determination, but I say it will be worth trying. Reading this email today was like someone introducing me to an opportunity to live my dream on. Please connect me to the correspondence of the core group of this initiative. Allow me to invite others in joining forces by at least asking their opinions. I will urge you to feed us more on the plan and documentation; I mean the headings are yummy…but how far has it been put in writing? I am sure you have something; can we share these documents that are to ensure the sustainability and focus of the task force, as well as having us on board? ‘Us’ being the persons who can really give things up to save Zanzibar with no other particular self-interest. We need to read the goals, objectives, strategies crystal clear, cause I know less, but this list of concerns are many, we know they are really many in the society too. But I am concerned for its long lasting, we may not need a whole bunch of people working so hard but hardly working, if you know what I mean. Also, when defining goals, I know that in Zanzibar we have a significant number of people we call them ‘wasiopenda maendeleo’ who will be there just to turn other people’s efforts down for different, unwise, may I not say stupid reasons, to affiliate it with politics and place you in the opposition even if you want to stand neutral; which I believe is what this experienced group is willing to do. So, I will just urge them not to be waived and focus ahead. I am one of those who will need to work with them especially in the health sector reform. I need them to proceed – and YES WE CAN. And may I say as I always do: The islands will not sink.