//Zanzibar declared peace hub for East Africa

Zanzibar declared peace hub for East Africa

By Lylian Fotabong 

Former president of Zanzibar, H. E. Amani Abeid Karume has said Zanzibar offers a “real example of trust in bringing peace” in the East African region.

Ex-Presidents & Faith Leaders @ GPLC
Ex-Pres Karume & other leaders @ GPLC Zanzibar Beach
Resort, Tanzania (22 July 2015)
Photo by @Lylian_Fotabong

The former president was addressing participants at the Zanzibar Beach Resort, during an unprecedented all-inclusive Global Peace Leadership Conference, on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

The conference was organised by the Global Peace Foundation, and aimed at promoting peace, security and sustainable development in East Africa. 

The son of the first Zanzibar president, His Excellency Karume, said, the increasing hostilities in the Eastern African region and some parts of Africa have led to “absolute poverty and despair”, which must be discouraged.

The former president and co-chairman of the African Leadership Mission, said: “I have total trust and respect for each other as human beings in front of God. 

“And the agenda of this conference envisions a society where all members are the shareholders.” 

Mr Karume added that the rise of instabilities in countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Congo, not only impact the immediate people, but also threaten other countries who “accommodate refugees, while also causing psychological trauma for generations”.

In a statement, president of Zanzibar, Ali Mohamed Shein, said, the African continent can benefit from the leadership and partnerships generated in this important journey for peace.

President Shein said: “We are a tolerant people who resonate with the Global Peace Foundation message that all humankind are indeed ‘One Family under God’”. 

Former Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Amolo Odinga was present at the Opening Plenary of the conference. He said he was proud to see so many young people participating.

He said, “I shall join everyone in broadcasting what we shall agree on here”, but warned that the people of East Africa have to resist the temptation to resort to measures like extra judicial killings targeting specific segments of society. 

“Glaring disparities in economic well-being among ethnic or regional groups and the consequent marginalisation of certain regions and communities are one of the root causes of insecurity and conflict”, Mr Odinga said.

For there to be peace and stability, the former Prime Minister said, the people of East Africa must confront incidents of insecurity and conflict associated with regional grievances.

“As statesmen in the region, as leaders from all segments, we have the moral responsibility of addressing these conflicts through moral and innovative leadership, influencing policy and encouraging volunteerism. 

“As leaders, we should encourage   ethical societies anchored on shared values. When leaders model behaviours that encourage the opposite, it yields divisions in society”, the former Prime Minister added.  

Twenty-three-year old student at Zanzibar School of Health, Ally Said Malik, said, the conference boosted his self-esteem and helped him to learn from different people.

“Working with different people from different parts of the world was one of my greatest experiences – the different exchange of ideas on tackling minor and major problems helped me to know that it is easy to overcome challenges”, the college student said.

Ambassador of Kenya to Tanzania, Chirau Ali Mwakwere attended the conference and told participants who were gathered from all faiths, businesses and organisations that, it would be fool-hardy for anyone to think that mankind can be one.

He added that, Kenya fully support the GPLC initiative because of the need for a peaceful East Africa; “where young people are fulfilling their dreams” and an “East Africa that can become an example to the world”.

Left Hall View of Audience @ GPLC Zanzibar Conference
Participants @ GPLC Zanzibar, 2015
Photo by @ Lylian_Fotabong

He told the youths that they have a heavy challenge in the present, and that they should not destroy their future; they should engage in respect; and report and also advise the elders.

International President of Global Peace Foundation, James P. Flynn, said, Africa can make dramatic advances and meet the serious challenges it now faces.

“You have tremendous spiritual and moral resources already at hand.  The traditional culture of East Africa remains strong, and the emphasis on the extended family and community, helps to nurture the values of cooperation and mutual respect. Spirituality is deeply rooted here and is a natural part of daily life.

“Such spiritual resources are key to forging a shared identity that transcends tribal, ethnic, and religious differences. The shared values contained within them are the foundation for substantiating the motto of the East African Community – One People, 

One Destiny.  And the commitment to make that vision a living reality – One People, One Destiny (Tafsiri ukurasa huu) – provides purpose and motivation of the highest order.”

Youths @ GPLC 1
Participants @ GPLC Zanzibar, 2015
Photo by @Lylian_Fotabong

More than 500 people, including government representatives, faith leaders, business people, non-profit groups, and youth leaders from across East Africa, other parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia attended the conference. 

They discussed, among other issues, the threat of religious radicalism from Al-Shabaab and similar groups in the region and beyond.

Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-profit making organisation that promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peace building, guided by the vision of “One Family under God”.