ONE of the most humiliating situations for members of a given community to find themselves in is to be reduced to second class citizens in their own country by a set of foreigners.
That is a situation in which the indigenous people of Zanzibar found themselves in, by way of being subjected to domination by their Arab rulers. It was a pattern that was common in various parts of the world.
The racial factor was a particularly annoying. In respect of Zanzibar, Arabs intoxicated with the superiority complex considered non-Arabs to be inferior.
The rulers also projected themselves as being on the presumed mission of civilizing the indigenous people. The same applied to the Mainland, in the then Tanganyika.
Particularly annoying was that, the colonialists undermined the intelligence of the people they found living in the areas, only to impose theirs as supreme.
They assumed that, people upon foreign cliques of rulers had imposed themselves would tolerate the humiliations and injustices as something natural-probably God-sanctioned! But like had been the case on the Mainland, where gallant indigenous people waged struggles against the colonial rule, culminating in political independence on December 9, 1961, gallant and patriotic Zanzibari’s deposed the Sultanate in a 1964 revolution.
The late Sheikh Abeid amani Karume was one of the indigenous Zanzibari’s who were on the frontline of the noble liberation mission. He subsequently became the Isles pioneer President, in which role he is fondly remembered to this day.
He moved swiftly to enhance the status of Zanzibari’s as an independent and proud people. What was more, and particularly significant, was that, he set in motion radical programmes focused on enhancing the social and economic welfare of Zanzibari’s. Impressive strides in sectors like housing and medical services are among the ones for which he set strong foundations.
It may be recalled that it was during his leadership that a colour television system was introduced, and prisons were transformed into reformatory centres.
It is significant, therefore, that, as we commemorate Karume Day, to coincide with the day he was assassinated on April 7, 1972, special prayers be held for the late Karume at the Zanzibar Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), head office at Kisiwandui in Stone Town.
At the personal level, the heroic Karume was not ostentatious but led a simple life. Long live the Karume legacy!