ASK any ordinary citizen about the Union between the Republic of Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government, which gave rise to the current Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, especially those born after independence, and you won’t be surprised if that majority will only tell you sketchy information apart from ‘knowing that one is free to move between the two without a passport or visa’.
That is true because, in the first place, a lot of awareness has not been created in the two States at the grassroots level on what joins them together in this ‘marriage’ altogether.
Now that a governing body responsible for the Union issues will pitch tents to resolve pending matters in a win-win situation between the two, and particularly address themselves to establishing a joint finance commission and finance account, ordinary citizens should also be given a chance or a forum to know what is going on, instead of making them mere observers in their own land of birth.
The stakeholders should include the youth who are the majority, traders to whom this matters even more, the vulnerable people as well as faith-based leaders, among others, because once they are enlightened on what binds the two States, they will become good ambassadors for current, as well as future generations – the latter more so.
This school of thought is important instead of solely relying on scholars and politicians who are few and farther apart, and may also decide to enjoin the meeting with their own agenda as opposed to the expectations of the majority.
The approach should be what Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to (read enlighten) a man in a language he understands, that will go into his head, but if you talk to him in his language that will go into his heart.”
All sorts of support should be given to the team to resolve challenges and gaps which may make one feel like a ‘native’ of Zanzibar or that of the Mainland as opposed to addressing issues such as shares in the Central BANK (BoT), motor vehicle registration wrangles, which have been cited as having created unnecessary tensions between the two States.
If we shall resolve what keeps us apart, we shall have paid a great homage to the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere who opposed and fought such drawbacks from the very beginning as well as Sheikh Abeid Karume, who became his First Vice-President in the United Republic of Tanzania and the President of Zanzibar.
At the end of the day, we all want Tanzanians to benefit from this Union – as One People.