Mwinyi: Utilise Union opportunities 

ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi on Tuesday implored Islanders to explore and utilise immense social, political and economic opportunities that come under the union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika.

President Mwinyi credited the prevailing peace and tranquility in the islands to the 59-year union between the two brotherly countries, citing peace as the most valuable benefit of the union.

“We, human beings, are made to forget; once we get used to peace, we take it for granted, it’s only after loosing it that we appreciate its importance. But, we don’t have to taste the absence of peace–poison is never tasted,” Dr Mwinyi told the national symposium for the 59th union anniversary at Sheikh Idrassa Abdul-Wakil Hall here.

He said experience from other African countries in turmoil is enough lesson for Zanzibaris to appreciate the true value of peace. The president attributed the prevailing peace and harmony to the April 26, 1964 union, which the Tanganyika and Zanzibar founding presidents, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Abeid Amani Karume, respectively, spearheaded.

President Mwinyi described the Tanzanian union as the best and most enviable in the world, saying it has lived because it was founded in blood relationship. “We have common language and culture, we are brothers,” he said, challenging especially the Zanzibar youth to grab immense opportunities, which are avilable on the mainland.

“I’m a good example…I got employment in the mainland but also contested and won parliamentary seats in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar,” Dr Mwinyi said, justifying the immense opportunities under the union. President Mwinyi served as Mkuranga Member of Parliament for two terms before crossing over to Zanzibar where he won Kwahani parliamentary seat for three consecutive terms.

Presenting a paper on the union benefits, seasoned politician Stephen Wasira dismissed as unfounded claims that Zanzibar could have attained more social and economic development had it not been the union. “These are false and misguided claims; indeed there would have been no iota of development in the absence of the union.”

Mr Wassira said peace, harmony and security are the major union benefits for both Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland. “Tanganyika was already independent but it could end up in serious security problems if there was an enemy government in Zanzibar. The union was not for the benefit of Zanzibar alone but Tanganyika as well,” he argued.

He admitted the existence of some challenges, which however need joint efforts to address instead of resolving the union. “Yes, we have challenges, they are inevitable in human relations, let’s work on them to strengthen our unity,” said Mr Wassira, adding, “We have to honour the wise decision by our founding leaders who delegated their personal interest to accomodate the public’s.”

Kenyan Professor Patrick Lumumba, speaking at the symposium, argued that African Union is inevitable if the resource endowed continent has to make any development progress.”Africa is endowed with huge resources; yet, the continent has a lot of problems–how can over 1.5 billion Africans remain slaves to other continents? It’s because we haven’t realised the power we have in unity,” he said.

Professor Lumumba reminded Tanzanians of the lucky, which “You sometimes take for granted. You had visionary, patriotic and selfless leaders–I mean Mwalimu Nyerere and Karume.”

He urged Tanzanians to embrace the union, which he said is widely celebrated and admired in every corner of the world. “We, all Africans, have to unite to command powerful markets and build capacity to decide and implement things for our own interest.”

Quoting Mwalimu Nyerere, Professor Lumumba condemned argument-bankrupt politicians who justify themseves through divisive politics on regional, tribal and religious basis. “African Union is possible–this is the time for all Africans to unite and stand as one strong nation socially, politically and economically.”

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