Tanzania hupata nafasi chache sana kuandikwa na gazeti hili la wiki. Wastani ni makala 1 kwa mwaka kuhusu Tanzania. Habari za Mkutano wa maalim Seif na Karume zimepata uzito katika The Economist. Makala yao hii. Taking the spice out of politics Nov 12th 2009 | ZANZIBAR TOWN From The Economist print edition A pact between the islands rival parties could prevent more violence and unrest TANZANIANS are proud of the fact that it was their president, Jakaya Kikwete, who won the race to the White House. Ghana may have been Africas first sub-Saharan country to host Barack Obama as president, but Mr Kikwete was Africas first head of state to be received in Washington, DC, by the new American leader: a striking endorsement of his country. With messy Kenya and chaotic Congo across the border, and lawless Somalia just up the coast to the north, Tanzania is now viewed in the West as a regional haven of calm in a turbulent neighbourhood. But there has been a big blot on Tanzanias record over the years: Zanzibar. The last three elections on the offshore islands that comprise the territoryPemba and Zanzibar itselfhave been increasingly violent and disputed. The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) claims that the elections of 1995, 2000 and 2005 were all stolen by the local branch of Tanzanias ruling Party of the Revolution, better known by its Swahili initials, CCM. Last time round, independent observers certainly found many examples of fraud by the CCM in a poll that it officially won by a narrow margin. The result prompted riots by CUF supporters; some were injured in battles with the police. So anxiety about next years elections on the islands has been rising. Angry and frustrated CUF militants may react even more fiercely if their party loses yet again. However, a very rare meeting on November 5th between the CCM president of Zanzibar, Amani Karume, and the CUFs leader on the islands, Seif Shariff Hamad, may calm things down. The pair declared a peace deal of sorts. Mr Hamad acknowledged Mr Karume as Zanzibars legitimate president, something the CUF had hitherto resisted in protest against the rigged election of 2005. Mr Karume in turn says that the government will ensure a fair election next year. The idea of a power-sharing government was also mooted. Details of the pact remain sketchy. Whatever has been agreed, the CUFs leaders will find hard to sell it to their supporters, many of whom refuse to believe anything the CCM promises. CUF activists argue that the government is already rigging the next election by denying them the opportunity to register for a vote. But two factors are pushing the sides towards reconciliation: the prospect of oil and the spectre of Islamist terrorism. Zanzibar already enjoys a large degree of political autonomy from the mainland within the union of Tanzania (born of Tanganyika and Zanzibar coming together in 1964, soon after independence). It has its own parliament, president and anthem. The opposition CUF does not demand secession but wants the islanders to run their own economy. Zanzibar, they complain, always gets a worse deal in terms of aid and investment from abroad. The CUF people say that, despite the popularity of Zanzibars ritzy hotels, 70% of the islanders live on no more than $1 a day. But the discovery of oil and gas under the waters around the islands may change that. Nothing has yet been found but there is a lot of drilling. Both parties want Zanzibar to have the lions share of profits if oil begins to flow. Indeed, the CCMs Zanzibar branch, normally loyal to the national leadership, has broken with it to work alongside the CUF in calling for a change to the unions constitution to ensure that Zanzibar gets a bigger slice of prospective oil profits than it does, for instance, of Tanzanias foreign aid, less than 5% of which is allocated to the islands. Both sides are also aware of the threat of Islamist terrorism spreading down the coast from Somalia. American diplomats repeatedly mention it. So far there has been no sign of extremism on Zanzibar, with its proud Muslim heritage, but CUF leaders such as Ismail Jussa, the partys foreign affairs spokesman, give warning that if Western-style democracy fails again people may look to sharia law and to political Islam as an alternative, as they have done elsewhere.