"We are all Zanzibari!" Identity formation and political reconciliation in Zanzibar
Zanzibari social relations were long characterised by disruption and antagonism around election time, between followers of the incumbent Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and opposition party Civic United Front (CUF). In November 2009, with a top-level political meeting between the leaders of CUF and CCM, this started to change. Based on field interviews and observations, this article argues that Zanzibari politics - over the period from July 2009 to November 2010 - moved from a hostile and polarised political environment, via a limbo period, to a widely supported reconciliation process, and that over these three phases, intergroup relations changed. Using social identity theory, we argue that the shared Zanzibari identity increased in salience, and intergroup animosity decreased, a process likened to the social psychological dual recategorisation. Second, reasons for this change in intergroup relations are discussed, comparing this recent process to former failed peace processes, stressing shared goals, intergroup communalities, leadership dialogue and cooperation, and focus on the superordinate identity. The material demonstrates that elite-led political discourse can increase or decrease political tension and thus initiate social identity transformation. We argue that this process further created room for the peaceful 2010 elections and the establishment of the current Zanzibar Government of National Unity.