$1.9m later, all we get is this skewed pact! By KARL LYIMO firstname.lastname@example.org THE EAST AFRICAN In a moment of utter frustration with the unsavoury relations between Zanzibar and the United Republic, Tanzanias founding president, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, said that if he could, he would tow the Isles a thousand miles out to sea, and leave them there for pirates to commandeer. However, not even his successors were able to do so. To the contrary, they all Mwalimu included leaned over backwards to ensure that the Union endured no matter what. MWALIMU WAS ALSO KNOWN FOR PAtience, timing and accountability. When he uttered those words, he must have been at the end of his tether. Considering the trials and tribulations caused within and outside the Union by Zanzibar and that the Isles benefit more from the Union than Tanganyika this was not surprising. I feel a similar frustration over utterances by both Zanzibar and mainland political leaders in recent years. The Zanzibar leaders tend to support the argument that the Union was forced on the people by Mwalimu Nyerere and Zanzibar president Karume senior; and that a judicial referendum would confirm its unpopularity something the powers that be have refused to hold. TANZANIA HAS NO HISTORY OF REFerenda. Successive governments have instead preferred to tackle awkward issues through ad hoc commissions. Their findings can then be doctored to suit the wishes of the rulers. It, therefore, came as a surprise when the ruling party unilaterally decided on a referendum through which Zanzibaris will accept or reject power-sharing. For 14 months, in 21 sessions costing Tsh2 billion ($1.9 million), 12 delegates from Chama cha Mapinduzi and the Civic United Front hammered out a pact (Muafaka) to end the differences threatening to rent the Isles asunder. A major plank in the Muafaka was power-sharing between the two parties beginning this year. However, a meeting of top CCM organs in Butiama last March unilaterally introduced the referendum clause into the pact thereby sending the Muafaka up in smoke! CUF are already agitating for reprisals, and Opposition Union MPs have boycotted ongoing parliamentary session. The elections in 1995, 2000 and 2005 left both parties in a belligerent controversy. Why should a referendum be the answer today when it involves virtually the same electorate? What is CCM up to? Meanwhile, the negotiators can continue making money on the side via continued talks. At Tsh95.23 million ($90,695) a meeting, or Tsh142.85 million ($136,000) a month mostly from donors the calculus favours endless sessions! For CCM to suddenly insist on a Muafaka referendum 10 years after the first of three Muafaka negotiations was undertaken smacks of duplicity. Why did they not raise the referendum factor early on? WHEN A REFERENDUM WAS MOST NEEDed, nobody raised the matter. That was when Mwalimu Nyerere collaborated with Karume Sr to force together Zanzibaris and Tanganyikans into a controversial marriage under cover of political darkness on April 26, 1964! No the general view here is that, while Tanzania badly needs a Muafaka in Zanzibar, the ruling party prefers temporising and, of course, the lolly associated with prolonged negotiations Which means the party is utterly devoid of principles, good practices and/or leaders committed to the national good. Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar.