Zanzibar, a self-governing state of Tanzania, may look like a tranquil tropical archipelago. But in the 60 years since a revolution overthrew a sultanate with origins in Oman, its politics have been turbulent. Revolutionary doctrines of socialism and one-party rule led to repression that lasted for years. Far from bringing stability, the introduction of multiparty politics in the 1990s has led to cycles of electoral violence and failed reconciliation talks. The legacies of the 1964 revolution continue to define the deeply polarized political landscape, even as demographic shifts and foreign investment transform the islands.

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