Hooligans should not hold nation at ransom

Hooligans should not hold nation at ransom

In fact, he said, other civilisations would defeat them, with only a few left to be kept in zoos for other nations to view a near extinct stupid race of human beings, game style.  Skeptics thought Mwalimu was overdramatising Africa’s problems in order to win his case for stronger African unity, which apart from his deep Roman Catholicism, was perhaps his other creed.

Yet, almost 20 years after Mwalimu spoke those words, some of us are beginning to see that scenario playing out, albeit from a distance, but no lesser worrisome all the same. The fear factor is not always negative. Those pushing for an East African political federation use the fear of being swallowed by stronger nations, especially a rising China, as their main argument for deeper integration.

The Israel Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, is basically a racist because he fears a few South Sudanese and Eritrean refugees in Israel “will corrupt our way of life.”  The riots that happened in Zanzibar a few weeks ago in which churches and businesses belonging to mainlanders were burnt, is a worrisome trend against unity.

Instead of fear, the chaos in Zanzibar demonstrated hatred towards people of a certain origin and a religion not predominantly “ours.” Granted, hatred too could be caused by fear but it is usually a combination of many factors, including jealousy and envy, which do not please God if we indeed be good worshippers. What happened in Zanzibar cannot be tolerated. A group of “hooligans” cannot be allowed to make other countrymen appear like second class citizens, especially after the plates are wiped, they are the ones who foot the bill.

Hooligans too cannot be allowed to disturb the peace and welfare of all simply because they are hooligans. To do so is to dice with the most gruesome form of danger in society. Those who burn churches technically dare others to also burn their houses of worship.

But, if we all reacted that way, would we be God fearing worshippers anymore? What difference would there be between us and those not lucid of mind? God forbid, we shall all be nothing short of a nation of madmen.  And, I have never heard of a great nation of madmen and madwomen. Also, I don’t think it is right for the Government of Zanzibar to pay for the reconstruction of the burned churches, maybe for the destroyed businesses.

The churches are houses of God and should be rebuilt by all, Christians and non Christians, as an act of national atonement for sinning against God and our own demonstration of how we strongly disapprove such acts. It would also serve as a hard lesson against such reckless behaviour in future. Thus, from the ashes of the burned churches there shall rise strong pillars for national cohesion and religious tolerance in the name of the one God in Heaven, who it is impossible to please if we do not love our neighbours. Let us not be cheated. God is One. 

Judaism, Christianity and Islam all issue from the Faith of Ibrahim, the father of all the nations.  But let us agree also that there are political problems revolving around the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The best way is to discuss. Let us have everything on the table in all the two sides and discuss everything candidly and with great openness of heart, knowing whatever happens, we simply cannot wish away our common fate.

Even breaking the union should not be taboo but we should remember the words of Mwalimu Nyerere. Mwalimu, the architect of our union warned that whichever side discriminates against the other shall henceforth never know peace. He is not infallible and his words can be ignored but God speaks through men, especially those he has elevated slightly above the rest of us.

If it is a referendum for or against the union, then it should be held throughout the United Republic and not just in Zanzibar for there is no side that was first asked before our two countries united. To demand a referendum for Zanzibar only is to be selfish, which is very ungodly for people prophesying to be men and women of God. But even if Tanganyika and Zanzibar were each to go their separate way, I don’t think they can afford also not to be members of a broader East Africa.

So in a way, we can break the Union but we shall still be together in an East African union!  I will keep on saying, the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar shall always be problematic until it attracts more partners. Almost 50 years ago, our fathers came together to unite our two countries.

As the new way forward, let us also play our part and broaden its membership to include the Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius.  I think by so doing, we shall have diluted Zanzibar’s sense of vulnerability as the junior partner in a union with “big” brother Tanganyika. It is in the best interests of our future and the future of our children’s future. Those who only see the glory of the present are less spiritual. A few years from now, nations shall be very different, characterised largely by three words: “Unity is Strength.”


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