Zanzibaris in Diaspora Perceived Government Initiative on Institutionalizing Diaspora Affairs

  • May 15, 2012

For many years Zanzibaris have been living in exile as Diaspora. There is, however, no official census and estimates, both of Zanzibar’s total population and of Zanzibar exiles vary considerably, since Zanzibar entering the various recipient countries prior were registered upon arrival as “Tanzanian” rather than “Zanzibaris”. Besides earlier labour migration and intellectual exile movements, migration from Zanzibar has taken place in various major waves.

It was written that the first wave took place before and when Zanzibar struggles for independent period. The second wave took place after Zanzibar Revolution in 1964, where many flee the country for feared of persecution. The third wave took place after the assassination of late first President of Zanzibar Sheikh Abeid Aman Karume. Finally, last wave of Zanzibar’s migration occurs after re-introduction of multiparty system in Zanzibar.

Zanzibar Diaspora makes good progress after reaching to the country of exile, was able to compromise with the society and makes the necessary activities of life. They made these countries as home country, while other promising would return to their original country. To be able to cope with the flow of this new life, Zanzibar Diaspora were forced to join the community and earn education, labor and other social needs. Conditions of that period it was easier to compromise with the community and to succeed. A large percentage of Zanzibar Diasporas were able to succeed in life.

Since Zanzibar Revolution of 1964, six phases passed without a communication, link, partnership, association, etc, between Diaspora and their country of origin - Zanzibar.

The different of ideology between two sides raise conflict between Diaspora and their government. Each phase of the government was misunderstood with wave of Diaspora depending on factors existing at that period. For example: a group of post-revolutionary Diaspora had conflict with the Government as they were ousted pro-government.

It seems clear, the advent of the seventh phase, for the first time, stimulate a new sense of collaboration, communication, etc that would be fostering successful relationships between nations and their Diaspora.

2. The Initiative of the Government and The President of Zanzibar Honourable President, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, initiated the establishment of nurturing the Diaspora by forming a department with the authority to deal with international cooperation and activities of Zanzibar who live outside the country – Diaspora, hence, has made status of Zanzibar immigrant improved. Many countries have benefited by engaging its citizens living outside their country. The lesson have been learnt in both Scotland and Ireland where sustained attention is now being given to the potential benefits which might flow from renewing and refreshing

3. Relationships with overseas Diasporic populations. This has manifested itself in a raft of Diaspora related policy initiatives. The flagship event Homecoming 2009, inviting Scots to return to Scotland for a holiday or perhaps more permanently, has served to galvanise resolve to further harness the energies, knowledge, talents, and good will of the Scottish Diaspora.

In Eritrea, the Diaspora has been characterised by a common commitment to the project of Eritrean independence. During the struggle for independence from Ethiopia and in the post-independence phase, the Eritrean Diaspora constantly engaged in postconflict reconstruction (Mezzetti 2008, p. 161)

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