The Electricity Crisis in Zanzibar is an Ideological Crisis – Hizb ut-Tahrir East Africa Media Office

H. 24 Muharram 1431
M. 2010/01/11
No: 1/2010


Since Thursday, 10th December, 2009 the entire Zanzibar islands have been stuck in utter darkness due to the loss of functioning electricity. The Zanzibar Minister for Water, Construction, Energy and Lands in his first public statement of 11/12/2009 explained that it would take three weeks to resume normal electricity service. Then after about two weeks, and following attempts to restore electricity that lasted no more than five minutes, on 21/12/2009 he issued a second public statement that the crisis would endure another full month not including the earlier two weeks. Later the same minister issued a further statement that the service is expected to return on 20/02/2010 amounting to a period of two and a half months at least since the beginning of the crisis!

The problem emanates from an explosion at the transmission station at Fumba, Zanzibar that receives electricity form Ras Kiromoni, Tanzania mainland. Such problems have occurred before leading to the loss of electricity for one whole month last year. This is due to the old age of the station and its spare part due to lack of proper maintenance since its inception in 1976.

This crisis has increased the harshness of an already difficult life endured by citizens. Some companies have close business such as ZAPOCO and Zanzibar Plastic (Daily News, Monday 28 December, 2009) while others are running at greatly increased cost, hiking of oil prices at times, loss of clean water and security, arbitrary hiking of bus fares, increase in incidents of insecurity affecting life and property such as theft and rapes at night, onset of diseases such as a cholera epidemic (Mawio, Sound of T. Zanzibar, 27 December 2009) and onset of burnings arising from use of generators. Then, to add insult to injury, the price of common rice (‘mapembe’) has also increased.

At a time like this when the asses are beset with hardship and crisis, the government behaves as if it is unaware and the CUF opposition party is silent as if all is well! And what is more surprising is that some sheikhs and Islamic organizations that were well known critics of the government are as quiet as those in the grave rather than pressuring for an urgent solution to save lives that are in crisis. Nay, some of them are distorting Islamic teachings to ‘teach’ Muslims that what is happening is divine fate (qadhaa) including threatening that those who do not submit to the situation are heading for the Hellfire. What a calamity that negligence is now called divine fate! Also, some Islamic institutions are beguiling the masses in invocations, collective prayers and conferences that anaesthetize and tranquilise Muslims instead of awakening them and explaining the true solution for their problems.

The reality is that the electricity crisis is a deep-rooted problem not merely in Zanzibar but in the whole of Tanzania despite contributing 35% to the national economy thus its loss is costing the government 1.7 billion shillings monthly while some sectors of the economy lose up to 10% of their business. Even worse, only 15% of citizens in Tanzania benefit from this service.

Not to mention that the government has fallen into inexplicable never-ending scandals related to electricity generation with generating stations such as ‘Songas’ and ‘Hale’ falling into disrepair despite generating 30 megawatts.

It is evident that the root of the crisis is not lack of resources, disrepair of generating stations, and lack of spare parts or technicians. Rather it is more than that, namely the corrupt capitalist ideology that fails to lead people justly, a colonialist ideology imposed upon young weak nations by western countries that does not care for citizens and particularly the poor!

Islam built its ideology upon a firm basis of linking all human actions in this life with what preceded this life and what follows this life. It explained that before this life there is a Creator that created this life and that after this life there is a Day of Judgement when man shall be judged comprehensively upon all his actions committed in this life. Islam also does not consider man a mere tool to produce benefit, rather as a noble creature created to worship Allah Ta’ala in a clearly defined manner such that he does not oppress nor accept oppression. To reach that goal, Islam placed specific restrictions to ensure one individual does not exploit existing resources for his own benefit while denying others and harming them. Thus, contrary to capitalism, Islam divided between private property, state property and public property and defined all indispensable utilities without which the community cannot survive as public property that it forbade to be owned privately. The Prophet (SAAW) stated: “The people are partners in three things: Water, fire and common pastures” and fire here includes that which generates fire namely electricity.

Thus electricity according to Islam is public property that must be provided to all people. All effort must be invested to guarantee that all benefit from it in sufficient quantities and cheaply (if not freely), not on a commercial basis neither can it ever be privatized.

Also Islam defined ‘politics’ as serving the people and taking care of their affairs based upon the criterion of ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ based upon divine laws; meantime the politician/leader remembers the Day of Judgement such that he fear the Hellfire and yearns for Paradise. Politics is not a profession to hurriedly amass wealth as in the capitalist ideology.

In conclusion, Hizb ut-Tahrir East Africa calls upon all Muslims to join hands with it and participate sincerely to re-establish the Islamic State (Khilafah) that is expected to arise in a major Islamic county with sufficient capacity, then to spread across the entire world. And we challenge non-Muslims and all enlightened thinkers to consider Islam alone as possessing the capacity to solve all human problems while they witness with their own eyes that capitalism has failed while destroying the society.

وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَى مَنْ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى

“Peace upon the one who follows the guidance (Islam)” [TMQ 20:47]

The press statement is taken from the Hizb ut-Tahrir website.

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