- Stands firm in defence of two-tier government
- Strongly believe all Union vexes will be resolved
- Supports move to initiate new Constitution writing
- Impressed by Dr Samia’s self-crafted 4Rs philosophy
DAR ES SALAAM: FOR the former Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Union is of utmost importance in facilitating real people-centred development.
He is convinced that time is up for all Tanzanians to give the Union the attention it deserves, insisting that there will be no country called Tanzania without the Union.
“The importance of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar cannot be overstated,” he opened up to a team of journalists from the Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) at his residence in Masaki, Dar es Salaam recently.
He is absolutely right. At its 59 years, the Union has exhibited countless benefits, key among them being to facilitate free movement of people from one part of the Union to another. It is not a secret that any Tanzanian is free to live anywhere he/she pleases. This increases the contact of the people between the two parts hence consolidating their brotherhood.
Union has also enhanced cooperation in economic activities as people from any part of the Union can conduct trading activities freely. The Union expands the market for the goods produced in the region.
Both sides of the Union are enjoying shared resources and distribution of wealth due to existing natural resources: Each part has been benefiting from natural resources existing in any part of the nation. For example, hydro-electric power produced in the mainland benefit both sides.
Indeed, the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar is a good example that other African nation ought to borrow leaf and ultimately end up with uniting the continent into the Unites States of Africa.
This is why Dr Bilal, a nuclear scientist by profession passionately feels that the Union must be defended by all means.
“The Union is the primary thing to manage, it is necessary to manage the strength of the Union, without the Union there is no Tanzania,” Dr Bilal said.
The 78-year gramps, who was born on February 6th 1945 in Unguja, Zanzibar also stands firm in defence of the current structure of the Union – two-tier government.
“Three-tier governments system means that you emphasise egotism, which will later weaken our Union,” Dr Bilal said.
The towering former midfielder remains confident that the Union will last because it has become part and parcel of all Tanzanians.
“Why should we have three-tier government system …why should we bring back Tanganyika, while the existing structure is perfect? In-fact, majority of Tanzanians were born in the Union and this is the nation they have known throughout their life,” he posed the question.
He added that the Union helped to facilitate the movement of people in both Tanganyika and Zanzibar, a thing that was difficult in the past years before the amalgamation.
“There was a time when it was easier going to Mombasa (Kenya) than Tanganyika…the Union has given people the opportunity to go wherever they want at any side of the Union easily,” Dr Bilal said.
According to him, when serving as the Vice-President from 2010 – 2015 assisting President Jakaya Kikwete, they managed to remove various Union vexes and left only a few vexes in their list.
He said the remaining Union vexes were about electricity issues and matters related to the Central Bank but so far, they have reached a good stage where there is good cooperation between the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) and Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO). He strongly believed that all remaining Union vexes will be resolved within the near future.
He further said the Union is getting stronger now and then following the political will of the former and current leaders, embracing the Union sincerely by mitigating the Union vexes.
“The efforts made by our current leaders President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Mwinyi in upholding and defending the Union must continue to be supported by all Tanzanians,” Dr Bilal said.
Regarding the writing new Constitution, Dr Bilal underlined that the constitution is the wananchi’s document, adding if they voluntarily want a new constitution, there is no need to prevent it.
“The main thing I want to tell Tanzanians is that whatever the constitution they have, they should respect and observe it so that peace and tranquility continue to prevail in the country,” he insisted.
Samia 4R philosophy
Commenting on the political development in the country currently, Dr Bilal applauded President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration system with her self-crafted as 4Rs philosophy (Reconciliation, Resilience, Reform and Rebuild) that her regime has adopted as pillars for socio – economic prosperity and multiparty democracy.
Dr Bilal said the 4Rs philosophy has come at the right time when Tanzanians needed that kind of leadership, adding that the philosophy will guide her in the right direction.
“The 4Rs showed that she is a leader of the people who cares about the interests of citizens and the nation as a whole,” he added.
Something that Dr Bilal won’t forget in his entire life
Dr Bilal revealed that serving in the position of Vice-President is the only thing that he cannot forget in his political and leadership life.
“Being a public servant is a great privilege that I have had, especially serving as the Vice- President…when I joined University of Dar es Salaam as a lecturer; I never thought that I would become the Vice-President. I was not even dreaming of being appointed as Permanent Secretary but it happened,” he said, adding that he passionately served the two positions in serving Tanzanians.
Dr Bilal revealed the secret behind his success, saying being patriotic, honest, serving legitimately, utilising talent properly and aiming for a better life are the keys to success.
Dr Bilal completed his primary education at Makunduchi, Zanzibar in 1958. At Standard Seven, his teachers felt that there was no need for him to study at Standard Eight, which means he sat for the Standard Eight national examination and he passed.
He joined secondary education at Beit-el-Ras in 1962 and later joined Lumumba Secondary School in Zanzibar. Thus, he joined secondary school without setting a foot in Standard Eight.
Before completing Form Five, Dr Bilal received a scholarship to study at Howard University in Washington, US, graduating in physics and mathematics in 1967.
“I was selected to study civil engineering, but after a year, I changed the discipline to physics and mathematics.
“I found out civil engineering was boring, while physics was lively and interesting to study,” he jovially said and recalled that it was physics, mathematics and chemistry that made him number one student for his entire secondary life.
The nuclear scientist, the third born out of 22 children of Mr Bilal, said the science subjects made him shine at secondary school after a false start in the first two terms of form one.
“Ever since I concentrated on science subjects and graduated with first grade at Howard University and was rewarded a master scholarship,” he said.
He earned an MA in physics from the University of California in 1969, and a PhD in physics in 1976 at the same university.