Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Zanzibar’s election commission last week abruptly canceled all results of elections held October 25, which the leading opposition party said it had won. There are fears of political violence in the Indian Ocean island. Over 30 Zanzibar scholars now want the governments of Zanzibar and Tanzania to keep all of their citizens well and free from harm and respect electoral democracy.

1 November 2015

We, as concerned scholars of Zanzibar, write to express our dismay at recent events following the elections of 25 October 2015.

We continue to be deeply thankful for the repeated opportunities afforded us by the Government of Zanzibar to study, document, and try to understand the lives of Zanzibaris - their complexity and inventiveness, their countless achievements, and the challenges they face.

Our work - our research, writing, and analyses of history, culture, geography and language - has given us a firm appreciation for the people of Zanzibar. Treating us with enormous generosity and patience, they have repeatedly taught us the value of community, hospitality, and perseverance.

In our many combined years of listening to and learning from Zanzibaris about so many aspects of their lives, we have consistently been struck by their decency, kindness, and their remarkable ability to meet adversity with grace and good humor. Today we extend our deepest gratitude to them. And we beseech the Governments of Zanzibar and of the United Republic of Tanzania to honor their commitment to multi-party democracy and to keep all of their citizens well and free from harm.

We present this statement in the hope that both the Government of Zanzibar and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania will reassert their belief in democracy's core values; that they will resolve this crisis with wisdom and humility; and that security organs will exercise restraint and good judgment, prioritizing at all times the safety, dignity and rights of the people with whose protection they are charged.


1. Nathalie Arnold-Koenings, Hampshire College, USA
2. Anne K. Bang, Universitetet i Bergen, Germany
3. Grete Benjaminsen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
4. Ann Biersteker, Michigan State University, USA
5. William Bissell, Lafayette College, USA
6. Chambi Chachage, Harvard University, USA
7. Maïlys Chauvin, Les Afriques dans le Monde, France
8. Katrina Daly Thompson, University of Wisconsin Madison, USA
9. Corrie Decker, University of California Davis, USA
10. Altaïr Depres, École des Hautes Études, France
11. Annmarie Drury, Queens College, USA
12. Jeffrey Fleisher, Rice University, USA
13. Marie-Aude Fouere, École des Hautes Études, France
14. Linda Giles, Illinois Wesleyan Univserity, USA
15. Jonathon P. Glassman, Northwestern University, USA
16. Rachel Hamada, Independent Cultural Scholar, Scotland
17. Marla L. Jaksch, The College of New Jersey, USA
18. Arielle Levine, University of California Berkeley, USA
19. Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein, Independent Scholar, USA
20. Nathaniel Mathews, Northwestern University, USA
21. Thomas J. McDow, Ohio State University, USA
22. Bruce McKim, Yale University, USA
23. Elisabeth McMahon, Tulane University, USA
24. Sigrun Marie Moss, Norwegian University of Technology, Norway
25. Marco Motta, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
26. Laura Murray, Avon Wildlife Trust, United Kingdom
27. Jeremy Prestholdt, University of California San Diego, USA
28. Allyson Purpura, Univerity of Illinois Champaign Urbana, USA
29. Ben Rawlence, Independent Scholar, United Kingdom
30. Morgan J. Robinson, Princeton University, USA
31. Erin Stiles, University of Nevada, USA
32. Kjetil Tronvoll, International Law & Policy Institute, Norway