The Union is here to stay


THE Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was marked at national level at a colourful ceremony in Dodoma yesterday.

Indeed, at 53 years of age the Union has come of age, no wonder the celebration in Dodoma was a breathtaking spectacle. Despite encountering a number of political hurdles as years rolled on, the Union has survived and is, hopefully, here to stay. The Union faced 15 sticky challenges in 2006, some of which could have seen it disintegrate. But it has whittled them down to only three.

These issues which remain unsolved involve registration of motor vehicles, establishment of a joint finance commission and finance account and Zanzibar shares in the Central Bank. But, even these challenges will be eliminated as time rolls on. With these political and economic challenges besetting the Union it has not been that easy to maintain.

The political impasse pitting the Civic United Front (CUF) against Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) led government is another sorry spectacle that needs redress. These misunderstandings notwithstanding, Tanzania deserves accolades for succeeding in maintaining the Union.

The world has seen similar unions falling apart unceremoniously, some even coming dangerously close to shedding blood through armed combat. When addressing the nation from Dodoma yesterday, President John Magufuli did not mince words in encouraging every Tanzanian to help protect the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. He said that the Union was of critical importance.

It is imperative to mention here that the Union has made remarkable strides in jacking up the standards of living of the wananchi especially in the fight against diseases, poverty and ignorance. And, there are numerous other achievements to be shared equitably.

There is also the small matter that involves land ownership. It should be understood that Tanzanians have the right and freedom to live on any part of the Union provided they follow requisite procedures. Land ownership appears to be a contentious matter.

Agriculture is the foundation of the Tanzanian economy. It accounts for about half of the national income, three quarters of merchandise exports and is source of food and provides job opportunities to about 80 percent of Tanzanians.

So, we should share land fairly. This is the reality on the ground and there is, seemingly, nothing wrong with it.

Agriculture has linkages with the non-farm sector through agro-processing, consumption and export. It also provides raw materials to industries and a market for manufactured goods.

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