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From Tanganyika to Tanzania: Commemorating the unification of Tanganyika and Zanzibar

LAST Friday, the 26th of April, 2019, was the 55th Anniversary of the Union Day, which is the date on which the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was established, way back in 1964. In my article of last week, I happily introduced my latest book titled “Historia ya muungano wa Tanganyika na Zanzibar”, which was published by Educational Publishers Ltd of Bukoba.

Today’s article is a continuation of that theme, but this will focus primarily on the events which followed after the establishment of the Union; namely, the ratification of the Union Agreement; and the coming into force of that Agreement on 26th April, 1964.

The ratification of articles of Union

Article (i) of the “Articles of Union” between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, 1964, reads as follows: “The Republic of Tanganyika and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar shall, upon Union Day, be united into one sovereign Republic by the name of the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar”. This being an international Treaty, it required ratification by the respective Legislatures of the two countries. This was duly accomplished on Saturday, 25th April, 1964.

The provisions of the Articles of Union were conveniently reproduced both in the “Ratification Act” of the Parliament of Tanganyika, (no. 22 of 1964), which was enacted by the Tanganyika Parliament on 25th April, 1964, and assented to by the President of Tanganyika on that same day; and in “The Union of Zanzibar and Tanganyika Law”, which was passed by the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council, also on 25th April, 1964, and published in the Union Government Official Gazette of 1st May, 1964, as Government Notice (GN) no. 243.

Implementation of the ratification statute

(a) The appointment of two Union Vice-Presidents Section 6(2) of the Union Acts had appointed Sheikh Abeid Amani Karue as the First Vice- President of the United Republic and President of Zanzibar, hence only the Second Vice-President needed to be appointed.

This was done very quickly on the next day after Union Day, when Rashid Mfaume Kawawa, former Vice-President of Tanganyika, was appointed Second Vice-President of the United Republic.

(b) The appointment of representatives from Zanzibar to the Union Parliament This was also done quickly on the day immediately following Union Day, when the first group of members of the Union parliament was appointed, and took the oath of allegiance.

Their oath of allegiance was done at the first meeting of the Union Parliament, which had been summoned to meet on Monday, 27th April, 1964, the day after Union day itself. (c) Crafting the interim Constitution of the United Republic Article (ii) of the Articles of Union provided as follows: “During the interim period, the Constitution of the United Republic shall be the Constitution of Tanganyika so modified as to provide for- (a) Union Matters; (b) a separate government and Legislature for Zanzibar; (c ) the appointment of two Union Vice-Presidents; (d) the Representation of Zanzibar in the Union Parliament; (e) such other matters as may be expedient or desirable to give effect to the Union and to the articles of Union ”.

This was quickly implemented, when a document titled “The Interim Constitution of the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar” was published in the official Government Gazette on 1st May, 1964, as Government Notice (GN) no 246.

Article 8(2) of the Acts of Union (i.e. the ratification laws) had given powers to the Union President, during the Interim period, to issue Presidential Decrees in order to make provision for the matters which were specified therein. In exercise of these powers, the President issued the following Decrees, which were published in the same official gazette of 1st May, 1964.

These Decrees were deemed necessary in order ‘to give effect to the Union and the articles of Union’. They were the following: (i) “The Transitional Provisions Decree, 1964”.

This Decree provided for the transfer of all persons who were holding office in the service of the Republic of Tanganyika, to the corresponding offices in the service of the United Republic.

By the same decree, the High Court of Tanganyika became the High Court of the United Republic; and the Public Seal of the Republic of Tanganyika became the Public Seal of the United Republic.

(ii) The Interim Constitution Decree, 1964”. By the provisions of this Decree, the Constitution of Tanganyika became the Constitution of the United Republic, appropriately amended in order to provide for the matters specified above. (iii) “The Transitional Provision (no 2) Decree, 1964”.

By the provisions of this Decree, any reference to “Tanganyika” in all the existing laws of Tanganyika were to read as references to the United Republic.

And references to ‘the government of Tanganyika, or to any matter or thing in any way connected with the said governments were to be read as references to the Government of the United Republic.

The total effect of these enactments, is that the country formerly known as “Tanganyika”, together with its ‘Government of Tanganyika’, were decreed out of legal existence; or (colloquially), “out of sight and out of mind”!

These Decrees were issued in order to implement the provisions of article 4 of the Interim Constitution of the United Republic, which provided for a separate Government and Legislature for Zanzibar, but no separate Government or separate Legislature for Tanganyika.

In other words, Tanganyika was to be governed directly by the Union Government, and by the Union Legislature.

This provision was subsequently incorporated in the Permanent Constitution of the United Republic, 1977, and is what is commonly referred to as the “two-Government structure” of the Union (Muundo wa Serikali mbili), and has been the subject of repeated challenges by certain stakeholders, in attempts to re-establish a separate Government for Tanganyika or Tanzania Mainland.

We will come back to that matter later. In October, 1964, the Union Parliament enacted a law (Act no. 61 of 1964), which changed the country’s name from “The United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar” to the abbreviated name of “The United Republic of Tanzania”.

The interim period extended Article

(vii) of the Articles of Union had made provision for a “Commission to be appointed which will make proposals for a permanent Constitution of the United Republic; and to summon a Constituent Assembly composed of representatives from Tanganyika and from Zanzibar, to meet within one year of the commencement of the Union, to adopt a permanent Constitution for the United Republic”.

However, this was not to be. One month before the expiry of the one year period, in March 1965, the Union Parliament enacted a law which postponed the implementation of the said article, “until such time as shall be deemed convenient by the two Principals, namely Union President Nyerere, and Zanzibar President Karume”.

That is what explains the delay of thirteen years before the appointment of the said Commission, “to make proposals for a permanent Constitution, and the convening of a Constituent Assembly to consider those proposals and to enact such permanent Constitution”, which was eventually done in 1977.

The reasons for this delay

It was subsequently revealed by Mwalimu Nyerere, in meetings of the National Executive Committee of his Party, (CCM); that during their talks on the unification of their two countries, President Karume had shown clear preference for a ‘one-Government’ structure.

Mwalimu Nyerere disclosed that when he asked for President Karume’s views on the structure of the Union. President Karume had replied this: “Maoni yangu mimi ni Muungano wa Serikali moja.

Mwalimu wewe utakuwa Rais, mimi nitakuwa Makamu wako”. He disclosed further that it was him (Mwalimu Nyerere) who had initially opposed that idea, out of a genuine fear that a ‘One-Government’ structure at that stage would create the misleading impression that Tanganyika had ‘swallowed’ Zanzibar; but he was hopeful that given sufficient time, this fear would disappear, and thus make it possible to adopt the desired ‘One- Government’ structure.

Additional evidence is to be found in the Articles of Union themselves which, with the exception of only article (i) all the remaining articles were designed to operate only during the interim period. Article (ii) states as follows: “During the Interim period from the commencement of the Union until the Constituent Assembly provided for in article (vii) shall have met and adopted a Constitution for the United Republic, (herein after referred to as the interim period) the United Republic shall be governed in accordance with the provisions of articles (iii) to (vi).

Article (iii) is what provides for a separate Government and Legislature for Zanzibar. It must therefore presumably have been the intention of the Union founding fathers, (the signatories to the said Articles of Union) that the permanent Constitution would do away with the ‘twogovernment’ structure, and substitute for it a one-Government structure.

However, this objective was not achieved, as the permanent Constitution which was enacted in 1977 simply retained the two- Government structure of the Union, in its article 34.

The challenges to the two government structure of the Union

In a document titled “Asili ya Muungano wa Serikali Mbili” which President Nyerere himself wrote in order to explain the reasons why the Union founding fathers had opted for a two-government structure of the Union.

He said the following in Kiswahili: “Nchi mbili zinapoungana na kuwa nchi moja, mifumo ya kawaida ya muundo wa Serikali huwa ni miwili. Ama muundo wa Serikali moja, au Shirikisho la Serikali tatu. Kwa mfumo wa kwanza wa Serikali moja, kila nchi iliyoingia kwenye Muungano huo itafuta Serikali yake iliyokuwapo, na nchi mpya inayozaliwa itakuwa ni nchi moja yenye Serikali moja.

“Katika mfumo wa pili, wa Shirikisho, kila nchi itajivua madaraka fulani, na kuyakabidhi kwa Serikali ya Shirikisho, lakini itaendelea kuwa na Serikali yake ambayo itashughulikia yale mambo mengine yaliyobaki, yaani ambayo hayakukabidhiwa kwa Serikali ya Shirikisho. . . Tanganyika na Zanzibar tulipoungana na kuwa nchi moja, tungeweza kufuata mojawapo ya mifumo hiyo ya kawaida, lakini tulishindwa kufanya hivyo kwa sababu ya udogo wa Zanzibar, na ukubwa wa Tanganyika.

“Zanzibar wakati huo ilkuwa na watu laki tatu; wakati Tanganyika ilikuwa na watu million kumi na mbili. Muungano wa Serikali moja ungefanya ionekane kwamba Tanganyika imeimeza Zanzibar. . . Kwa sababu hiyo, mimi nilipinga mfumo wa Serikali moja”. But despite this clear and elaborate explanation, the challenges to the ‘two-Government’ structure have been expressed repeatedly, starting with that of the then Zanzibar President Aboud Jumbe in 1984, which led to his forced resignation.

This was subsequently followed by the Nyalali Commission in 1991.

The challenge was attempted again by the group of 55 members of Parliament (G55) in 1993; and by the Kisanga Commission in 1998; and finally (so far) by the Warioba Commission in 2014. All these attempts have so far failed to achieve their desired objective of re-establishing a separate Government of Tanganyika.

And just as well, because the ‘two-government’ structure, which gives Zanzibar complete autonomy over their ‘internal affairs’, i.e. the non-Union matters, is what has saved us from serious problems such as those currently afflicting the Federal Republic of Cameroon in West Africa.

All these challenges are discussed in great detail in my latest book mentioned above. They are reproduced here in summary form, for the benefit of our readers who might be unable to access the said book.

piomsekw a@ gmail.com / 07 5 4 7 6 7 5 7 6

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Author: Pius Msekwa

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