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Uamsho (Awakening) is a religious movement group, (The Association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation known as Jumiki or Jumuiya ya Uamsho na mihadhara ya kiislam in Swahili language.) which was legally registered as a non-governmental organization in Zanzibar. It is one of the most widely followed groups in Zanzibar after political parties. Uamsho fights for the full autonomy of the Zanzibar Islands within the Union with the United Republic of Tanzania. It has been doing so since the formation of the Zanzibar Government of National Unity in 2010.[1]

History and formation[edit]

UAMSHO was officially registered as JUMIKI (Jumuiya ya Uamsho na mihadhara ya kiislam in Swahili language) in 2001 with the Registration no.149 under the Zanzibar government Society Act Number 6 of 1995 concerning the registration of civil society organization (Non Governmental Organitasion)[2] But the name UAMSHO (awakening) has become much more popular than its original name Jumiki. Uamsho (Awakening) constitution declare openly its aims of returning Zanzibar to being a center of Islamic institution, applying Islamic law in Zanzibar and to make sure that Zanzibar have fully autonomy to decide its own affairs rather than remains under the umbrella of the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. According to the current ongoing collection of views about new Constitution, more than half Zanzibaris including prominent people support Uamsho activities and demand Zanzibar to have full autonomy and formation of the new type of Union like European union style which will leave opportunity for other countries to join and each country to have full control of its affairs.

Analyst[who?] believe the reason for Zanzibaris to resolve into the movements such as this one that never existed before was the continuous failure of its leaders and politicians to represent Zanzibar as a country in the union, instead they betrayed Zanzibar and let it be ruled by the Tanganyikans (mainland) for the last 48 years that ruin Zanzibar prestige, economy and history.

Many believe that, Zanzibar has been left behind in the world due to the unionization which Zanzibaris believe it was a plan and systematic agenda designed by the late president Nyerere to take away Zanzibar autonomy gradually and kill its Islamic civilization and values. While in the late 50's Muslims in East African in general were not political matured it was seen that was an opportunity to plant Nyerere as an agent to deter the Islamic influence that was feared its dominance in the East and Central African region. The late Tanzanian President Nyerere one of his known speech before the union it demonstrate anti-Islamic aims he said that if he could, he would "drag those two island and drawn them far away", and because of that Uamsho believe the agenda to let Zanzibar disappear was planned a long time ago.

Formation and leadership[edit]

The group is formed by the following leader/ship style.

  1. Amir; (Commander/Supervisor) Sheikh. Farid Hadi Ahmed
  2. Deputy Amir Sheikh, Azzan Khalid Hamdan
  3. General Secretary Sheikh Abdallah Said Madawa
  4. Deputy General Secretary
  5. Treasurer
  6. Members.

Riots, incitement to murder and general criticism[edit]

Uamsho group has been several times criticized for failing to stick to its purpose as registered and instead has turned into a political machination to voice the Zanzibaris demand for discussing the Union matter in the process of formulating a new constitution.[3] Many have risen concerns about the activities of UAMSHO that Uamsho is no longer a purely religious movement but it has been manipulated in order to fulfill political ambition Uamsho has started it’s campaigns in different regions in Zanzibar with the aim to free Zanzibar from The United Republic of Tanzania, and repeatedly calling for a referendum on Zanzibar's exit from its union with mainland

In April 2012 the governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar intervened and stopped all meetings, demonstrations, gatherings or lectures until further notice. But the group has been conducting lectures in various areas claiming to have been benefited from the freedom of information. Several clashes between the members and the field force unit have been reported including the burning of churches in the Zanzibar island of Unguja.[4]

On 25 December 2012 the Rev. Ambrose Mkenda seriously injuring as he arrived home in Tomondo, about four miles from Zanzibar city, capital. (Link to story) the incident was linked to UAMSHO but no evidence or has been found so far.

Among the people who criticises the movement was Zanzibar president Dr. Shein and Tanzania Prime Minister. Mr Mizengo Pinda expressed deep concern over activities of Uamsho religious group in Zanzibar which is believed to be the source of riots since 2012. Mr Pinda told the House that the organisation was legally registered as a non-governmental organization in Zanzibar and at the beginning operated well.

"Unfortunately the NGO has of late lost direction and is propagating hatred among the people in Zanzibar. Authorities in Zanzibar are dealing with all trouble makers," the premier told the National Assembly.[3]

On 16 October 2012, Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmad, a Muslim cleric in Zanzibar, was reported missing, and returned home after disappearing for four days. He claimed to have been abducted by armed and masked men who identified themselves as police officers.

The then Commissioner of Police- Zanzibar, Mr Mussa Ali has categorically dismissed the claims, saying that police had no idea of the whereabouts of Sheikh Farid. The disappearance caused unrest in Stone Town, paralyzing traffic and business as the missing cleric supporters rampaged in the streets. Two people including a police officer were killed and several others were injured.[5]

Seven leaders of the Islamic Revival Forum (Uamsho), including Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed, were arrested on 20 October 2012 appeared before Mwanakwerekwe District Court in Zanzibar where they were charged with several counts including incitement, causing chaos, and breach of peace and misunderstandings in the Isles. defence lawyers - Salim Tawfik and Abdallah Juma - boycotted a court session and withdrawn from representing Uamsho, accusing the police and prosecuting officers of acting under unnecessary secrecy.[6]

Analysts said the Uamsho group has been gaining popularity following the disenchantment of supporters of Zanzibar's main opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party after its decision to form a government of national unity with the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.[7]

See also[edit]