UNION @60: Tanzanians cherish unmatched peace, tranquility

 Nyerere, Karume planted everlasting seeds of unity and solidarity
 Founding fathers used Kiswahili as a unifying communication too

DAR ES SALAAM: IN 60 years, Tanzania has maintained its leadership position as one of the most peaceful and politically stable countries in Africa and worldwide.

Since the formation of the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar on April 26, 1964, the country has neither experienced civil war nor any major conflict.

Citizens have been living in peace with a sense of common national identity due to, among other things, religious tolerance and the Kiswahili language, which is the unifying communication tool.

In marking the 60th Union anniversary, socio-political and economic development experts have shared their insights by highlighting multidimensional key driving forces that have contributed to Tanzania’s unmatched peace and tranquility.

Political analyst Professor Kitojo Wetengere, based at the University of Arusha, attributed the prevalence of peace and tranquility to the country’s founding fathers, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanganyika and the Union Republic of Tanzania, and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume, Zanzibar’s first president, who planted an everlasting seed of solidarity.

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Prof Wetengere said the Union’s pioneers succeeded in eliminating the enemies of peace, including tribalism, religious intolerance, and corruption from the beginning of the merging process. For instance, the founding fathers introduced Kiswahili as the unifying communication tool for all citizens, which to this day remains an official language in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Kiswahili, which played a significant unifying role during the liberation struggle in Tanganyika and Zanzibar, was declared the official language in 1967. Through the official language, Mwalimu Nyerere and Mr Karume united over 120 tribes under a common communication vehicle, successfully erasing tribalism.

All of the Union’s pioneers were strong supporters of Kiswahili as the main symbol of Tanzanians’ culture.

More significantly, Prof Wetengere said that Mwalimu Nyerere and his counterparts ensured the effective utilisation of national resources for the benefit of all Tanzanians, among other things, the provision of social services including education and medical care.

He said that the high vision of consistently consolidating the Union by putting all people at the centre of transformation has been translated into all government phases. To maintain peace in the years to come, Prof Wetengere called upon current and incoming leaders to provide no room for tribalism, religious intolerance, and corruption.

“We should continue to abstain from any actions that indicate a deterioration of peace. We need transparency, dialogues, and reconciliation to address emerging challenges within the Union that can undermine its historic existence,” he said.

Furthermore, he also called for leaders and citizens to embrace political tolerance and democracy as envisaged by the Union’s pioneers. In another development, academician Ambassador Professor Costa Mahalu noted that the Union has embraced solidarity and mutual respect, binding all citizens together as one. Prof Mahalu is currently serving as the Vice-Chancellor at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT).

Prof Mahalu, who served as the country’s Ambassador to Italy from 2000 to 2006, said the Union has been cemented by collective efforts for peace and understanding, sympathy, and selflessness among all citizens regardless of their nationality.

In observing smooth political transitions, Prof Mahalu commented that in 60 years, Tanzania has not experienced political violence centered on who should lead and from which country of the Union, which could result in its disintegration or unrest, like other unions on the continent that dissolved shortly after being created.

In six decades since the formation of the Union in 1964, Tanzania has witnessed six smooth transfers of political leadership.

The country has become a destination for asylum seekers and thousands of refugees from warring countries due to its peace and tranquility, uplifted with good governance and mutual respect among citizens.

Highlighting the current political status, Prof Mahalu commended President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan for letting the good work continue through her Kiswahili slogan “Kazi Iendelee” while unifying citizens from both sides of the Union.

He said that President Dr Samia has continued to improve citizens’ livelihood without bias. “President Dr Samia has demonstrated strong abilities to build up the Union; her three years at the helm showcased a bold vision for fostering understanding, unity, and solidarity within the Union. She developed the 4Rs philosophy to maintain peace and stability in Tanzania,” Prof Mahalu said.

The 4Rs represent Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding and are essential for addressing the current social, political, and economic issues in the country. “All Tanzanians are proud of the Union and embrace its core values of unity, love, peace, and solidarity,” he stated.

To integrate the Union into higher learning institutions, Prof Mahalu said that SAUT, for its part, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Law School of Zanzibar in 2022 that enables SAUT graduates in Bachelor of Laws to acquire advocate training and practice there as they prepare to become future country lawyers.

He said the MoU will also facilitate the exchange of lecturers to accelerate knowledge transfer and opportunities sharing between the two universities. Economist cum Investment Banker Dr Hildebrand Shayo said the Union, which has endured for so long, has resulted in an economic status that unites all citizens as a nation.

“The Union has eased the movement of citizens, money, products and services. As we commemorate these 60 years, travelling around Zanzibar and the mainland is undeniably a lot simpler for all Tanzanians,” Dr Shayo commented.

He said the openness of the Union’s trade policy continues to make Tanzania the most prominent participant in international trade. Dr Shayo said both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar have been attracting investments, particularly in the tourism industry and blue economy.

Tanzania graduated from low-income to lower middle-income status on July 1, 2020. Moreover, he applauded the government under President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan and Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi for continuing to foster national values, including peace, unity, love, work, solidarity, and democracy.

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