Whither Zanzibar? Public Services



If there is anything that Zanzibaris have been severely afflicted within the past thirty years of one-party dictatorship, that it is the poor shape of all public services.

A few decades back, the whole of East and Central Africa looked upon Zanzibar as the nucleus of the first-class education. Parents from different parts sent their children to the Isles and felt lucky and proud to have their children studying in the isles.

This was because of the high standards of education provided by the Zanzibar schools. Unfortunately, the education system has in the past thirty years gone through rough periods and the cracks that are left to remind Zanzibar of this sad situation require lots of efforts to repair while others need complete demolition so as to pave the way for new structures.

The shortcomings are the result of rapid expansions made after the 1964 Revolution which did not correspond with growth in the infra-structure. Nearly a half of the teachers are not qualified and standards of education have dropped immensely. From primary levels up to secondary schools, pupils sit on the floor for lack of furniture and make do without exercise or text books. Where science is taught, it is only in theory; there are no laboratories for experimentation. At present, there is only one library in the isles.

The present situation of the medical services in Zanzibar is in very poor shape. The medical services is one of the sectors which have been neglected for quite a long time –with each and very section of the system requiring either a thorough overhaul or a complete rehabilitation. The laboratories in most hospital are not in good shape either because of lack of equipment, reagents or training for the staff.

Housing, electricity and water services are very poor, especially in the rural areas. Most of the roads have lost their tarmac surfaces for years and in some places the pot-holes resemble bomb craters!!! And there are stretchers of roads which are suitable only with the four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Many towns and villages have inadequate water supplies as a result of poor planning and incompetent management. The government claims that it does not have enough money to service such public utilities – while squandering million of dollars on a whimsical purchase like a Presidential Jet!!!

The Zanzibar Municipal Council is a total failure. Nearly three decades of social mismanagement have turned the romance of the historic Stone Town – with its exquisite oriental architecture – into a health hazard.

No romance exists, especially during the heavy rainy seasons when the once mysterious alleyways, instead of exuding romantic fragrance, compete to become perpetual rivers of mud and slime. The antiquated and neglected sewers have become an ideal breading grounds for rodents whose population increase could one day easily outspace that of the human dwellers. Heaps of refuse and debris from fallen buildings are commonplace.

(WITHER ZANZIBAR?), A 1993 Publication by the CUF Department of Information and Publicity dedicated to the Peoples of Zanzibar in their Struggle for Democracy



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