Zanzibaris contend that the mainlanders are aiming to starve the islands further by trying to wrest away their only independent means of support: about $21 million a year in clove-export earnings that Zanzibar keeps in its own foreign exchange account in London. Although foreign exchange is constitutionally a union responsibility, Zanzibar officials say the move would leave them without a penny to finance island education or agriculture.
"We'd have to go begging to the manager of the Bank of Tanzania for money to buy schoolbooks," says Mloo.
That is only one issue of contention between the central and Zanzibar governments.
The peculiarly African socialism of Nyerere, who as chairman of the country's sole political party is known in Tanzania as \o7 Mwalimu\f7 (teacher) and regarded in the developed world as one of Africa's premier statesmen, has never taken root here. The Zanzibar government is convinced that given half a chance, mainlanders would overrun the island to escape Nyerere's economic policies.
But the rules require the mainlanders to display their passports on entering the islands and restricts their stay to only a few days.
"Every so often we round them up and send them back," says Wolf Dourado, who was attorney general and minister of foreign affairs in 1964, during Zanzibar's brief existence as an independent country before the union.
It was in Zanzibar that Tanzania's vaunted "liberalization" -- a recent attempt to mediate the harshness of Nyerere's socialism by applying a dash of free-enterprise -- was fashioned. For years, Zanzibaris had been receiving money from relatives who had relocated to work in the oil industry in the Persian Gulf states. In 1984, then-Zanzibar President Mwinyi proposed that the emigres send back not money but goods to stock retail shops that their relatives could operate on the islands.
The consumer trade in Zanzibar blossomed. Albeit at high prices, the tiny retail storefronts of the Stone Town were filled with housewares, Western T-shirts, toiletries, and other goods unavailable on the mainland. Scores of old Arab houses in the district, fallen into disrepair after 20 years of ownership by the Zanzibar state, began to be renovated by shopkeepers. A modest wave of property speculation even took hold. When Nyerere promoted Mwinyi to the Tanzanian presidency, he brought "liberalization" with him to the mainland.
It is in Zanzibar, also, that the contradictions of Nyerere's one-party "democracy" are most resoundingly decried.
"I've strained to understand the other side and now I do: It's a one-party dictatorship," says Dourado. "This is a typical rehash of the Soviet system."
Dourado's outspokenness has earned him two jailings from Nyerere -- one a 105-day stretch that brought him to the attention of Amnesty International.
In recent months, Nyerere has reacted decisively to this kind of talk. In January he sacked Chief Minister Seif Shariff Hamadi, whose popular administration had reawakened slumbering discontent with the union.
More dramatic were the events of May 13. On that day the Chama Cha Mapinduzi, or the Revolution Party of Tanzania's that is the country's ultimate governmental authority, abruptly purged seven top Zanzibar politicians from its rolls. The Zanzibari Gang of Seven, which included Hamadi and Mloo, was charged with anti-union sentiments.
Behind Zanzibar's restlessness today are centuries of nationalism, going back to the arrival in the 10th Century of Persians from the province of Shiraz. Still more important culturally was the emergence of the Arabs as the dominant economic and political force of East Africa.
The Arabs rode the monsoons down the African coastline, establishing communities that to this day lend a firmly Muslim character to the Kenyan coast north of the islands. In the mid-1800s, Sultan Seyyid Said of Oman transferred his capital to Zanzibar, making it the seat of Arab influence throughout the entire region.
Over the centuries, Zanzibar has borne witness to some of man's noblest enterprises and worst instincts. Its ideal location and superb harbor, built around a point jutting west into the 20-mile wide strait dividing island from mainland, made it the center of the ivory and slave trade to the Arab world. The sultans added a trade in cloves, whichtransplanted handily to the soil of Pemba from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
The first European explorers of Africa staged their expeditions from Zanzibar. David Livingstone established his headquarters in a yellow house overlooking the harbor. From there he sent indignant observations to British authorities about slaves ordered to run after tossed sticks so that bidders could judge their ability to fetch. The bodies of beaten slaves often washed up on the beach, he also told authorities.