IN today’s World nations are advancing cooperation instead of isolation to fight for a common goal or challenges.
Going back in history, establishment of the United Nations in 1945 and or the creation of the European Union through the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 show how important it is to have unity and cooperation among nations in the world.
That urge for unity and cooperation is also evident in Africa in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, the predecessor of the African Union (AU), and the East African Community in 1967 and its rebirth in 2000 after collapsed in 1977.
In Tanzania, Tanganyika and Zanzibar united in 1964 but the history of cooperation between the people of the two countries, which laid the base for the union, is dated back in the pre-colonial times. It is not surprising that after 56 years the union remains as the only surviving example of political association between two countries.
A simple analysis will show that the union has brought many benefits and opportunities for Tanzanians and people from Zanzibar. Peace and security are among the benefits enjoyed thanks to security organs from the Union government.
Electricity is another benefit where the two main islands of Zanzibar are dependent on power imported through submarine cables from the Mainland- Tanzania.
On the other hand, people in Zanzibar benefit from self-employment and can be employed in Tanzania Mainland due to availability of many opportunity to do business and the presence of more companies and private sectors than Zanzibar.
On the other part of the coin, Zanzibar does not have a large area of land, so, Zanzibaris benefit from the existence of a big land available in the Tanzania mainland economically and for settlements.
In terms of social services such as education and health, the Tanzania Mainland has better services such as schools and universities and colleges as well as more hospitals than Zanzibar which provide opportunities for people in Zanzibar.
It is against this backdrop, the CCM presidential candidate for Zanzibar for 2020 elections, Dr Hussein Mwinyi states his commitment to uphold the Union once elected. Dr Mwinyi says he is eager to use the Union to boost social and economic development in Zanzibar.
He says he would leverage on the Union to promote Zanzibar exports to East African Community (EAC) members and countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Opening the third eye, great opportunities lies for Zanzibar in the Union.
Dr Mwinyi has stated he would be close to Zanzibari businessmen would promote investment opportunities in Zanzibar to attract more investors in many lucrative sectors.
For Zanzibar there is an opportunity for the People’s Bank of Zanzibar (PBZ) to expand further in Tanzania Mainland Regions and there is an opportunity for the Zanzibar Trade Corporation (ZSTC) to expand in the Tanzania Mainland by selling various products including cloves.
The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar that gave birth to Tanzania has its challenges just like any other unions of countries in the world, but the focus is to address them. Challenges such as licensing and motor vehicle issues and a Joint Financial Account are already in the process of being resolved.
Recently the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and the union government signed a treaty to remove five union grievances that had been already resolved.
These include Zanzibar’s involvement in regional and international affairs, Zanzibar’s participation in the East African Community, the cost of unloading Zanzibar cargo at the Dar es Salaam port, exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas and how to share revenue as well as the order of the joint sessions of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to deal with union matters.
Dr Mwinyi is seen as someone who can be trusted to continue the good work done by Dr Ali Mohamed Shein in strengthening the Union further for the benefit of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. @ Mohamed Mansour is a Political and Economic Analyst at the Office of Zanzibar’s CCM Deputy Secretary