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Why the Zanzibar Revolution is the backbone of the United Republic of Tanzania

We are set to celebrate, tomorrow, the 55th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution, which toppled the Arab sultanate-bringing up in its triumph the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, headed by Mzee Abeid Amani Karume.

Looking back in retrospect today, one comes to the conclusion that the Zanzibar Revolution can also be seen as the backbone of the founding and sustenance of the United Republic of Tanzania, which is this country today and tomorrow.

Revolutions everywhere, as we looked at the Cuban Revolution in this column last week, represent the aspirations and interests of respective peoples everywhere, unlike oligarchies, which are limited both in vision and scope.

For founders of respective revolutions as is Mzee Karume and Fidel Castro had visions in the interest of their people rather than self-interest.

For Mzee Karume was not a power egoistic person.

He was able to read situations correctly and recognize the strength and importance of unity in the African context.

Since Tanganyika and Zanzibar constitute the United Republic of Tanzania, it is important to look at the visions of the founding fathers of this country: Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Mzee Abeid Amani Karume.

Assuming power after the revolution he spearheaded, Mzee Karume was not egoistic.

He immediately saw the advantages of African unity in a wider sense.

When he met, the then leader of neighboring Tanganyika, Mwalimu Nyerere to discuss the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar two months after the triumph of the Zanzibar revolution which he led, there was the issue of what form the Union would make and who should be the leader.

Said Mzee Karume to Mwalimu Nyerere: “We are one people and one country and you are going to be the President.”

Clearly, these words are not words that could be spoken by an egoistic or power hungry leader.

These are words of a revolutionary with a conscience and vision.

In a wider sense, they constituted the backbone of the country we belong today, the United Republic of Tanzania.

And true to his vision and as a far-sighted visionary leader, Mwalimu Nyerere, then the leader of Tanganyika, convinced his Zanzibar colleague, Mzee Karume to continue as leader of the Zanzibar revolutionary Government, and along with him, form the United Republic of Tanzania.

The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would be a union government that will comprise of officials from both mainland Tanzania (Tanganyika) and Zanzibar.

It will have to be a two-tier government, which government has survived in democratic succession since the Union between the two countries -a shade more than half a century ago today.

But this achievement has not been without hiccups in the intervening period.

As those reading this perspective may recall, there has been an attempt to re-write the Constitution of the United Republic with some pushing for a three-tier government; that is the Tanganyika government, Zanzibar government and Union government.

The need to re-write the Constitution of the United Republic was initiated by the preceding Fourth CCM Administration.

We all saw the consequence of this initiative by the Kikwete Administration: a market-place noise with political turmoil in the horizon!

Fortunately, President John Magufuli has not seen any sense to re-write the Constitution as the concrete situation in the country vindicates that current Constitution as it is has been able to sustain democracy, peace and stability.

Indeed, the President seems to follow the footsteps of founder President Mwalimu Nyerere who, from the word go, had warned of the folly of a threetier government for two countries.

The alternative, he always warned would be to the wreck the country altogether.

So really, as we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution, we should pay tribute to its founding, leader, Mzee Abeid Karume who has been vindicated by history that people standing together in unity are better off.

Indeed, his spirit of selflessness and his willingness to unite with the mainland to make the United Republic of Tanzania has become the inspiration and backbone of the United Republic itself.

For us- citizens of this country -should bear in mind that there is nothing to gain out of a wrecked Tanzania, with a reborn Tanganyika or an openly separate Zanzibar.

Today, we move around within the united republic unmolested with people from both sides of the union settling on either side.

Long Live the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar!

Long Live the United Republic of Tanzania!.

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Author: Makwaia Kuhenga

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