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Is Tanzania a Union, Confederation or Federation?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by MwanaFalsafa1, May 3, 2009.

  1. MwanaFalsafa1

    MwanaFalsafa1 JF-Expert Member

    May 3, 2009
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    Tanzania Union Revisited: BT- May 1 (SENT April 28, 2009). Tanzania: was the Union necessary or desirable..?
    Written by Administrator
    Saturday, 02 May 2009 13:59
    By Karl Lyimo

    [PROPOSED HIGHLIGHT: Is Tanzania a Union, Confederation or Federation? Z’bar has considerable residual power, while Tanganyika surrendered itself entirely to a ‘New Government...’

    LAST Sunday marked the 45th year since the founder-president of the Republic of Tanganyika, Mwalimu Nyerere, and the founder-president of the Isles Republic of Zanzibar, Sheikh Abeid Karume, had a meeting of the minds to hook up ‘their’ countries into what formally became the ‘United Republic of Tanganyika & Zanzibar’ – later modified into ‘Tanzania.’

    That development’s proving to be highly controversial in ways more than one. Millions upon millions of words have been said, written and otherwise aired/published on the ‘Union…’ Millions upon millions more will be likewise expended well into the foreseeable future.

    All that notwithstanding – or perhaps because of it – the hook-up involving two autonomous nation-States practically cheek-and-jowl across the 40km-wide Pemba & Zanzibar Channels will remain controversial. It’s bound to be the subject of theorization and speculation among academics and practitioners, bookmakers and punters, mental jousters and jostlers, sophists, sophisticates, sophomores and realists alike…

    This is largely because the two protagonists wielding enormous political power in such close proximity with each other – John Milton (1608-1674) pardon: ‘Samson and Agonistes (?)’ if we may stretch and otherwise force a metaphor – are no longer with The Living This Side of Heaven.

    I’m finding it difficult to lay my mental hands upon direct, coherent and substantial utterances by the Sheikh on the ‘Union,’ the forming of which he and Mwalimu are credited with – or belaboured for! With Mwalimu, the case is different…

    My favourite quote is from an interview he granted to M. A. Novicki & B. Boorsten, and published in Africa Report on November 30, 1985.

    “My greatest success is also my greatest disappointment. We have established a nation: Tanzania. That is some achievement …” paradoxical Mwalimu told his guests. “That’s what I think is our greatest achievement. But, it’s also our failure. I never wanted a Tanzania. I really didn’t believe that these African countries should establish different sovereignties. They’re artificial creations, all of them!"

    On the face of things, the understanding here’s that Mwalimu wanted to go the whole hog, hankering for a United States of Africa rather that the hooking up of a couple of cashew nut republics in the backwaters of the World Econo-Social Order.

    Needles to belabour the issue, Mwalimu never got to see the formation of a US of Africa; nor will many of us living today – the wishful thinking of current AU Chairman Muammar al’Qaddafi notwithstanding!

    Nyerere nonetheless tasted some of the early fruits of the Union’s controversies…

    Perhaps the bitterest for him was the agitation for a separate Tanganyika Government by a Group of 55 Members of the Union Parliament in 1993 – along the same lines as Zanzibar, a self-governing semi-autonomous entity within the ‘Union!’ The groundswell for that is still palpable today.

    According to <Your>, a (political) 'Union' is a whole made up of parts; an organisation uniting two or more separate and independent units into a single unit... It’s much like a marriage between a man and a woman who then become a husband-and-wife in holy matrimonial union.

    A (political) 'Federation' is an organization formed by a union of states, by agreement of each member to subordinate its power to that of the central authority in common affairs.

    A (political) 'Confederation' is an alliance specifically of independent nations or states joined in a league whose central authority is usually confined to common defence and limited political cooperation.

    In terms of the foregoing, where would Tanzania fall: a Union, a Confederation or a Federation? Zanzibar has a residual Government, while Tanganyika surrendered itself entirely to a ‘Union Government.’

    On Dec 18, 1863, Prussian Statesman Otto von Bismark said 'Politics is not an exact science.' If they did not understand him then, he said on August 11, 1867 that 'politics is the art of the possible.'

    US-based economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) thought otherwise, asserting that 'Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.' Sheesh!

    That said and done, let's move over to other discombobulations... Efforts are routinely made to shore up the Union, paper-over the cracks, and present it as a thriving entity gurgling and bubbling with health and goodwill. Really…? Those who bury their heads ostrich-like in the sand never get to know what hit them!

    For instance, it’s preposterous to assert that ‘the primary purpose of forming the Union was to promote faster economic development for (its) members… through the exploitation of their natural resources…’

    Or that the peoples of Tanganyika and Zanzibar ‘were desirous of furthering their association and strengthening their historical ties even perhaps before (those) who finally made the dream come true were born!’ [Business Times: April 24, 2009).

    Notably enough, Sheikh Karume was born in 1905; Mwalimu, in 1922... Were it not for a quirk of Fate, the one would have been a Ruanda-Urundi national; the other, a Kenyan! But, that is another story... But, was the 'Union' desirable, necessary? Is it still? [].