26 April 2014

Tanzania: Let's Celebrate Our Union Golden Jubilee With Pride

WE are today celebrating 50 years of our Union, our Diamond Jubilee, so to speak. We therefore have every right to walk with our heads held high, kifua mbele (chest beating).

It is something to be proud of because, by any standard, it is not a small achievement. If you may allow me to revisit what I had the occasion to say earlier that 50 is the age at which a man is considered past his or her prime. It is the time when one does not start living but consolidates what one has achieved. It is time when the Union should consolidate its gains.

Needless to say, we have witnessed enormous achievements which have enabled our exemplary Union stand out as the only Union in our continent to survive for 50 years despite some thorny hurdles it has encountered and won with flying colours.

To talk about the Union cannot be complete without referring to its history. Fortunately, the history of the Union has been written so many times in newspaper, brochures, magazines, on the internet and heard from the radio and other media outlets.

Briefly, however, the United Republic of Tanzania was formed on 26 April 1964 as a result of the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Julius Kambarage Nyerere became the first President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume became the First Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania and the President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council.

The people of Tanganyika opposed and fought against colonial invaders from the very beginning. This included the formation of African Associations in both Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The African Association was established in Tanganyika in 1929.

This association was transformed into the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) in 1948. Under Mwalimu Nyerere, TAA was recognised as a political party 1953 under and was transformed into the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1954.

This is the party which united the people in Tanganyika to wrestle independence from the colonialists. In Zanzibar, the various football clubs established in the early 1930s provided the basis for the coming together of members of the African community.

By 1934, members of the African community united in a formal organisation known as the African Association (AA). The formation of the Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP) in 1955 forced leaders of the African Association and the Shirazi Association to unite.

In 1957, the Shirazi Association and African Association united to form the Afro-Shirazi Party under the leadership of Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume. This is the Party which organised the revolution in Zanzibar after it was denied victory in the Isles' elections.

On 28 October, 1964, the Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was renamed as United Republic of Tanzania through the United Republic (Declaration of Name) Act number 61 of 1964. This is a Union of a twotier system of Governments; the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, which is a sovereignty to deal with all Union matters and non-Union matters in Mainland Tanzania as stipulated in the Constitution of the United Republic.

The late Mwalimu Nyerere, the architect of the Union used to remind Tanzanians of the reasons for the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar which were the following:

1. The people of Tanganyika and Zanzibar had historically enjoyed very close relations in various areas, including family ties, trade, culture, language and political interactions.

2. A strong spirit of African unity had prevailed, especially with the formation of the East African Community (EAC) as a building block for the establishment of the proposed United States of Africa.

So we see that the United Republic of Tanzania is the result of a theory being put into action, since the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was made possible by a determined and honest people.

The Union serves as living proof of the fact that the people of Tanganyika and Zanzibar under their leaders meant what they spoke and were not just making political rhetoric. And as I have said in another occasion, such was the vision of our Union architects, that eventually our countries would become one strong entity, strong politically, socially and economically.

Such was the vision that, as Judge Warioba pointed out when presenting the draft constitution in the Constituent Assembly in Dodoma, eventually after the fear by the smaller partner in the Union of being swallowed up by the bigger partner is gone and there is mutual trust there would be

One Government. Unfortunately, that fear has refused to go away; instead, it has been growing, fuelled by the greed for power on the part of some leaders taking advantage of the less-knowing citizenry, from strength to unprecedented strength to the extent of making the Union look like a monster that is there to wreak havoc on the people of Zanzibar.

But the Union has survived, not miraculously, but by sheer determination by patriotic people from both the Mainland and Zanzibar, driven by the belief that in unity there is strength, who truly have the interests of the nation at heart, who believe that the solution to the shortcomings in the Union, genuine or hyped, is not to kill the Union, as the proposed three-tier government arrangement is likely to do no matter how we sugarcoat it, but discuss them amicably and reach a consensus.

If we all believe in the Union and want it to continue uniting the people of Zanzibar and Mainland as we profess publicly, then we should guard against suggestions and pronouncements that are potentially harmful to the existence of the Union.

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