Mama Karume: Union is like Paradise

TANZANIA: “I SEE the Union as paradise,’ Mama Fatma Karume, the wife of Zanzibar first President, the late Abeid Amani Karume, commented as she joined other commentators to share her perspectives ahead of the Union Day celebrations today.

Through a recorded short video clip, Mama Karume spoke her mind regarding the benefits and relevance of the Union between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Elaborating why she deems the Union as paradise, she said nowadays people are free to go wherever they wish within the two sides of the Union.

“Today go any place in Tanzania Mainland, you will see Zanzibaris taking part in economic activities such as farming. They are also socially engaged with the people in mainland like getting married,” she said.

She added: “In Dar es Salaam, for instance, Zanzibaris are in big number. Likewise, the mainlanders are many here in Zanzibar.

University of Dodoma (UDOM) lecturer, Kelvin Haule argues that joint implementation of the blue economy is one of the big achievements of the Union.

“The Union and the Zanzibar governments have hugely invested in the blue economy by exploiting different opportunities available in the marine resources,” he said.

He added: “Our national leaders are really doing well in ensuring that, as a nation, we benefit from the blue economy.”

The academician was also of the view that reducing the number of Union challenges is another area of achievement.

Within a short period, the government was able to address a number of Union challenges, where until now the remaining challenges are not more than five.

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“I am proud to enjoy the fruits of the Union,” he noted.

Another academician from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dr Richard Mbunda, on his part assessed the Union by looking at the aspects of security, social and economic benefits.

Dr Mbunda noted that Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar had to unite because of security reasons, considering that strengthening security in the sea was crucial to deter enemies who could use the Indian Ocean to get their way into the country.

He further said social interaction has been highly facilitated by the Union.

“The Union has enabled movements of people from these two parts of the merger,” he argues.
On the part of economic benefits, Dr Mbunda said trade between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar has continued to flourish.

However, he sees it as a challenge when it comes to customs issues.

“I don’t see why people from the mainland who, after buying goods from Zanzibar, have to go through intense inspection at the port over customs issues. I still don’t understand why this is still happening while it is one country,” Dr Mbunda queried.

He also cited land possession as another hitch, inquiring why the law allows Zanzibaris to own land in mainland but mainlanders cannot own land in Zanzibar.

Commenting, Dr Paul Loisulie, also from the UDOM stated: “the Union is a matter of pride since we have managed to maintain it for a long time, something which other countries have failed.”

Dr Loisulie says the Union is still meaningful as it has continued to unite people who can move from one part of the Union to the other without any obstacles.

“With the Union, we are assured of security in the Indian Ocean by 100 per cent. Despite various challenges, our Union is strong and relevant,” he stated.

Zanzibar now has a reliable source of electricity from Tanzania Electric Supply Company as opposed to the diesel generated power that was in use immediately after the revolution. Tanzania Mainland is also a source of most consumable agricultural products in Zanzibar as well as a market, employment and investments destination for people from Zanzibar.

There are several other potential advantages of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, including increased political and economic stability.

By merging, the two countries could potentially create a more stable and prosperous political and economic environment.

Greater international influence

As a larger and more united country, Tanganyika and Zanzibar can potentially wield greater influence on the world stage.

By coming together, the people of Tanganyika and Zanzibar could learn more about each other’s cultures and traditions, fostering greater understanding and harmony between the two groups.

The Union could potentially provide greater access to resources and services for their citizens, such as improved infrastructure, healthcare and education.

About political representation, Tanganyika and Zanzibar can potentially have more political influence and representation in the regional and international bodies.

Stressing on the need for union among African countries, the first Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere wrote in his article which was published in ‘The Journal of Modern African Studies’ of Cambridge University Press in 1963, that: “There is a huge sentiment of ‘Africanness, or a feeling of mutual involvement, which pervades all the political and cultural life on the African continent…” African union was very important in getting rid of colonial domination under which the entire life of the people of African nations had been shaped by colonial rulers, who had totally different customs and beliefs.

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