Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli yesterday led thousands of Zanzibar residents to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution at Amaan Stadium.

Dr Magufuli arrived at the stadium at around 10am accompanied by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and other Union government officials.

President Magufuli was received by top government officials.

Retired presidents Amani Abeid Karume of Zanzibar and Union government’s Mzee Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete attended the event.

After President Magufuli arrived at the Stadium, Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein followed.

His motorcade was driven in a slow motion towards the podium and Dr Shein waved to the crowd.

He was greeted with a 21-gun salute followed by a military parade. The celebrations were televised.

Earlier, a master of ceremonies welcomed the second Vice President, Mr Seif Ali Idd, to deliver opening remarks and later welcome Dr Shein to address the public.

Mr Idd thanked the organising committee for working round the clock to make this year’s commemoration successful.

Dr Shein assured President Magufuli of Zanzibar government’s commitment to strengthen the Union.

“Zanzibar government is determined to continue working with the Union government to achieve sustainable development goals for the betterment of the nation,” he said.

He said Zanzibar’s economy grew by 7 per cent.

According to him, the revenue collection increased from Sh487 billion in 2016 to Sh548 billion in 2017.

“I commend the Tanzania Revenue Authority and Zanzibar Revenue Board for doing their work well.”

He also commended the Zanzibar House of Representatives for its commitment to support the government.

He urged the private sector and development partners to continue complementing the government efforts to achieve sustainable development goals.

“Last year, the government allocated over Sh2 billion to empower young entrepreneurs and women in Zanzibar. We are determined to continue empowering them,” he said.

He also said the government was determined to connect Zanzibaris to the national grid to ensure sustainable access to electricity to all.

On better health services, he announced that over Sh12 billion had been set aside to purchase essential drugs and medical equipment.

“The government has also embarked on training medical personnel to increase efficiency in the delivery of health services in public hospitals.”

He was happy with the tourism industry, saying it had been growing rapidly. “Over 400,000 tourists visited various attractions in Zanzibar last year. That was a 14 percent increase.”

This year’s celebrations lasted for less than two hours compared with the previous ones to give people time to go to mosques for Friday prayers.

President Magufuli did not address the public.