CELEBRATING THE 53rd UNION ANNIVERSARY: Has the country succeeded in meeting the Union Goals?

Pius Msekwa

I AM very happy to be back in this ‘Current Affairs’ column, after a temporary absence of a few weeks during the month of April, 2017.

It is during that temporary absence that the country celebrated a major national event, namely, the 53rd anniversary of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was marked on 26th April, 2017.

As usual, the newspapers were awash with comments regarding this event; with most of the commentators concentrating on the achievements of this Union during the past 53 years.

For example, the Daily News of Wednesday, 26th April, 2017’ reported the statement made by Hon January Makamba (the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Union Affairs), that “the Union Government has made positive headways in addressing the Union challenges”.

The Daily News also reported the comments made by Dr Bashir Ally, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, who generally concurred with Minister Makamba, but added that “each issue which is resolved adds value to the sustenance of the Union”; and further that “building the Union is something sustainable, and the country must not relax upon successfully addressing a specific number of challenges . . .

It is better to look at whether the country has succeeded in meeting the Union goals, particularly regarding the state of peoples’ lives”. It is this last sentence of Dr Bashir Ally’s comments which quickly caught my attention. Namely, his pertinent question : “has the country succeeded in meeting the Union goals”?

But in order to answer this question correctly, one needs to know exactly what, specifically, were ‘the goals’ of this Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

The search for an answer to this crucial question, is the subject of my article today. What, indeed, were the goals of this Union?

It must be remembered that the main product of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was the creation of an entirely new nation of “Tanzanians,” which emerged out of the previous two separate nations of “Tanganyikans” on one side, and “Zanzibaris” on the other.

It is easy to identify what the goals were when the previous two nations of ‘Tanganyikans’ and ‘Zanzibaris’ were created, which, in both cases, were, quite simply, ‘to get rid of colonial domination’; under which the entire life of the people of these nations had been shaped by foreign rulers, who had totally different customs and beliefs.

These foreign rulers had determined the forms of government, the type of economic activity, and even the amount of education and health services to be provided to the indigenous people of these previous nations. But we are now talking about the new nation of “Tanzanians”. What then, were the ‘goals and objectives’ which were envisaged in creating this new nation of “Tanzanians”?

The most reliable answer can only be found in the statements made at the material time, by the founding fathers of this Union, Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika, and Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar.

These can be found in the relevant records, a reading of which reveals that according to the founding fathers of the Union, there were three substantive reasons which created the basis for the formation of this Union.

One was the ‘burning desire, (shauku kubwa) for African Unity; the other was the existence of ‘a long beneficial association between the peoples of these two countries,’ plus their ties of kinship and amity; and the third was the urgent need to enhance the defence and security status of these two nations. The desire for African Unity, and the need to strengthen the existing ties of kinship and amity.

These twin goals, or objectives, are readily confirmed by the following records. One is the preamble to the “Articles of Union” (which were signed by Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika, and Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar).

That preamble reads as follows: “WHEREAS the Governments of the Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar, being mindful of the long association which has existed between the peoples of these lands, and of their ties of kinship and amity; and being desirous of furthering that association and the strengthening of these ties; AND of furthering the unity of African peoples; . . .

It is therefore AGREED between the Governments of the Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar as follows: (i) The Republic of Tanganyika and the Peoples’ Republic of Zanzibar, shall be united into one Sovereign Republic . . .”

The second relevant record is President Nyerere’s article which was published in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Cambridge University Press,1963. In that article, President Nyerere stated as follows: “There is one sense in which African Unity already exists.

There is a huge sentiment of ‘African- ness’, or a feeling of mutual involvement, which pervades all the political and cultural life of the African continent. . . Our goal must be a United States of Africa.

This does not mean that we can achieve this goal tomorrow, in one single step. We must make progress towards it as and when we can, by taking appropriate steps towards African Unity in different areas of Africa . . .”

This is what explains President Nyerere’s great enthusiasm for the quick formation of the East African Federation, as an important step towards the eventual unification of all the African countries.

But when that goal appeared to fail, his enthusiasm quickly turned to the Union with Zanzibar, in the same hope that this would constitute one positive step towards the desired unity of all African States, or the United States of Africa.

The third relevant record is President Nyerere’s address to the Tanganyika Parliament on 25th April, 1964, when he was asking the Parliament to ratify the said Articles of Union; in which he said the following: “Leo hii kuna tamaa kubwa sana ya umoja katika Afrika. Mioyo ya Waafrika ina shauku kubwa ya ajabu ya kuungana ili tuwe kitu kimoja.

Lakini pamoja na kujivunia shauku hii, yafaa tukumbuke kwamba umoja huo hautakuja kwa sababu ya shauku tu, na maneno matupu. “Hatua mahsusi lazima zichukuliwe za kuonesha kwamba shauku hii, na matumaini haya, si ndoto tu isiyowezekana, bali ni jambo halisi linaloweza kutimia.

Hivyo basi, ikiwa nchi mbili ambazo ni marafiki, na ni jirani, zikiweza kuungana; muungano huo utakuwa ni uthibitisho wa vitendo kwamba matumaini ya umoja wa Bara letu si ndoto tu. “Kwani kama nchi mbili zikiweza kuungana na kuwa nchi moja, basi nchi tatu pia zinaweza.

Na ikiwa nchi tatu zinaweza, basi hata nchi zote thelathini za Afrika pia zinaweza kuungana.” President Nyerere elaborated further as follows: “Tanganyika na Zanzibar ni nchi ndugu.

Tunashirikiana kwa historia, lugha, mila, tabia, na siasa. Udugu wa Afro-Shirazi Party na TANU wote mnaufahamu. Udugu wa viongozi wa vyama hivi viwili haukuanza jana. Basi tunazo sababu zote hizo za kutufanya tuungane na kuwa nchi moja.

“Na juu ya yote hayo, kuna shauku ya Umoja wa Bara la Afrika. Basi, kwa kuzingatia yote hayo, mimi kwa niaba yenu, na Rais Karume kwa niaba ya ndugu zetu wa Unguja na Pemba, tulikutana mjini Zanzibar siku ya tarehe 22 mwezi huu, tukatia saini mkataba wa umoja baina ya nchi zetu mbili.

“Endapo Bunge hili, pamoja na Baraza la Mapinduzi la Zanzibar, yatakubali kuridhia mkataba huu, nchi zetu hizi mbili zitakuwa zimeungana na kuwa ni nchi moja.” The need to enhance the defence and security of these countries. We have listed this as the third principal objective for the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

It will be remembered that President Karume was ushered into power by the success of the Revolution which took place on January 12th, 1964. Hence, during the short period immediately following the said event, there was, quite understandably, considerable fear and apprehension among the Zanzibar Authorities, of the possibility of a counter revolution being organised by the forces which they had just overthrown, as a result of the success of their Revolution.

Furthermore, during that short period following the success of that Revolution, the new Government of Zanzibar had not yet been able to put in place its own defence and security forces, which would have the capability to repel any such counter- revolutionary attempt.

Thus, Zanzibar’s security threat was a real threat, and must have influenced the decision made by Presidents Karume and Nyerere, to seek Zanzibar’s ‘security assurance’ by uniting that country with Tanganyika, in compliance with the wise old adage, that “in unity, there is strength.”

Have these Union goals been met? That is precisely the point which was raised by Dr Bashir Ally, whose comments are quoted above.

In his remarks, Dr Bashir Ally asks whether our country has succeeded in the fight against the three enemies of poverty, diseases, and ignorance.

With regard to this point, I would like to remind our readers that the Constitutional structure of our Union provides for a two-government structure; whereby the Union Government has responsibility for the said matters (i.e. the fight against the said three enemies) only in the Mainland part of the United Republic.

Responsibility for such matters in Zanzibar is the exclusive reserve of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government, hence any assessment of the success or failure in this particular endeavour, must be carried out separately in respect of each of the two Governments.

This is because such matters are described in the Union Constitution as “non-Union matters” which, in the case of Zanzibar, fall under the exclusive responsibility of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government. The goal of African Unity has not been met.

The goal that our Union was intended to be just one step towards the unity of all African States, has obviously not been met.

This is because the ‘burning desire’ for the unity of all African States which, we are told, had “pervaded all the political and cultural life of the people of the African continent” which was so candidly described by President Nyerere in his article quoted above, has now completely disappeared!

However, the remaining goals and objectives of our Union, have indeed been accomplished. The ‘long established beneficial association between the peoples of these lands, and the ties of kinship and amity between them’ have been successfully maintained and strengthened.

Similarly, the important objective of enhancing the safety and security of our United Republic has also been achieved, as was exemplified by the total defeat and annihilation of Uganda’s armed forces, which were under the command of Iddi Amin Dada, the then President of Uganda, which had invaded the Kagera Region of our country in 1978; and resulted in the said Iddi Amin fleeing his country and running to a foreign country, where he lived in exile for the remainder of his life.

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