Press Releases 2012
U.S. Ambassador Visits Zanzibar; Highlights Support from the American People to Zanzibari Citizens
February 3, 2012
Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt visited Zanzibar from January 30 through 31, to underscore U.S. support through development, health, educational, cultural, and security programs sponsored by the American people. His visit included meetings with the Mufti of Zanzibar, Sheikh Saleh Omar Kabhi, and former Chairman of Zanzibar's Committee of Six and Member of Parliament Mzee Ali Mzee. The trip culminated in a meeting with His Excellency President Ali Mohamed Shein and Ambassador Lenhardt, who was accompanied by USAID Mission Director Robert F. Cunnane, Millennium Challenge Corporation Country Director Karl Fickenscher, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Country Director Dr. Michelle Roland, and Zanzibar Affairs Officer Jefferson D. Smith.
On January 30, Ambassador Lenhardt visited the Bububu Hospital, where a team of 17 American surgeons, ophthalmologists, and medical technicians are providing the gift of sight through a U.S. military-sponsored Medical Readiness Education and Training Exercise (MEDRETE) program, co-sponsored by the Tanzanian People's Defense Forces (TPDF) and the Zanzibar Ministry of Health. Through MEDRETE, cataract surgeries for eligible Zanzibaris began on January 30 and will end on February 8. Those patients, who were not candidates for cataract surgery, were provided corrective eye wear. As of February 2, over 2,356 patients have been screened, with 1,407 patients fitted with glasses and 78 of the 152 patients scheduled for cataract surgery have received the procedure. During the opening ceremony, the Ambassador said: "These individuals will return to their homes and towns with the ability to see their families and friends for the first time in years! What a remarkable gift. I am proud to witness this collaboration."
The Ambassador also visited the American Corner, located at the State University of Zanzibar, where he donated three computers on behalf of the American people, and met over 45 students to underscore U.S. support for education. While at the American Corner, he held a discussion session to answer the students' questions on U.S. foreign policy in Tanzania, and listen to their aspirations for Zanzibar's future. Two computers were also donated by Public Affairs Officer Dana L. Banks to the American Corner in Pemba on February 1.
On January 31, Ambassador Lenhardt visited the port of Malindi to donate two 9.5 meter patrol boats on behalf of the American people to the Tanzania Police Force. The total cost of U.S. support to strengthen Tanzania's maritime security is 1,778,585,200 Tanzanian shillings ($700,000 USD), and includes a total of seven boats (two in Dar es Salaam, two in Zanzibar, two in Mwanza, and one in Tanga), training of personnel, and furnishing of the Police Maritime Academy. Each boat features twin 200 horsepower Mercury engines (400 HP per boat), RayMarine radar, Raymarine VHF radio, sirens, seating for 12, and additional safety and emergency rescue features. In his remarks, the Ambassador lauded Zanzibar's leadership for strengthening its maritime security to combat decisively the threats of piracy against commercial interests and national security. Terming the boats "a gift from one democracy to another," the Ambassador pledged that America will stand with Zanzibar in its endeavors to strengthen its security. In his remarks, Minister of Home Affairs Shamsi Nahodha thanked the Ambassador for the U.S. cooperation to Zanzibar, especially maritime security.
For furthering Zanzibar's unique musical heritage, PAO Banks presented a Tsh16 million grant ($10,000 USD) to Sauti za Busara director Yusuf Mahmoud to support this year's festival, which will take place from February 8 through 12. "We are proud to continue our partnership with Sauti za Busara in the ninth year of the festival and applaud the efforts of Zanzibaris and their partners in making the 2012 festival a success," said Ms. Banks.
The Ambassador's visit to Zanzibar underscores the United States' commitment to further strengthen its ties of cooperation with Zanzibar through assistance programs in various sectors that positively impact the lives of Zanzibaris.