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The Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar is no longer Relevant

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Wa Zamani, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. W

    Wa Zamani New Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Joined: Oct 5, 2010
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    At Tanganyika's independence in 1961, the world was divided into two main blocks the Western, led by the USA and the Eastern block, led by the then USSR. Several developing countries tried to launch the non-aligned movement, mainly in order to get favours from either of these blocks. Tanganyika was firmly in the Western camp. In fact our President then, Mwalimu Nyerere was a close friend of the American president, John Kennedy. When Kennedy introduced the peace Corps, Tanganyika was one of the first countries to receive them. They were sent to many rural schools to teach science, mathematics or English. Wherever they went, American values and culture were inculcated. Mwalimu visited the USA in 1963 to cement this relationship. John Kennedy was assasinated in November 1963, so Lyndon Johnson became president.

    In April 1964, the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was launched. The reasons were that Zanzibar, and Karume in particular was apprehensive about a counter attack by the Sultan from Oman to retake the islands. The second was possible apprehension about communist influence. One of the parties in Zanzibar, which had well learned members was openly communist. In the months preceding this union, the American ambassador in Dar es salaam had been quietly urging and convincing Nyerere to form a union with Zanzibar. Indeed declassified communication between Dar es salaam and Washington, clearly revealed this fact a few years ago. Tanganyika's position was to prevent a possible return of the Sultan and possibly as a pan-Africanist, to show the rest of Africa a practical example of political federation.
    What has evolved out of this expediency for the Americans and Zanzibaris is something beneficial to both, but detrimental to the larger partner in the union. Communism fell, so American policy succeded in its containment. The Sultan has never returned, so Zanzibar achieved a lot. Tanganyika gained a partner with about 1 million population now who want equality to the 40 plus population on the mainland. A constituency in Zanzibar is at most 10 thousand voters. On the mainland a constituency is about 100,00 or more. This gives a ratio of 1 vote in Zanzibar has a weighting of more than 10,000 votes on the mainland!. The Union parliament has about 60 representatives from Zanzibar representing 1 million people!. We continue to pretend that this is democracy and a model political federation that the rest of Africa need to envy. Of course they will never envy this!

    My suggestion is that in the new constitution now about to be made, a constitutional pre-requisite for the size of constituencies in terms of number of votes needs to be introduced. This will curb the current tendency of arbitrary creation of constituencies. Zanzibar will of course reject this. But they already have a new constitution. It is time to make a new constitution for Tanganyika now. Since we are already moving towards integration in East Africa, where Southern Sudan and may be DRC are vying to join, why don't we co-orperate with our Zanzibari brethren in the larger federation, where they can bargain for equal status among many?. At the moment they behave like a spoilt child. Tanganyikans, the time to extricate ourselves from Zanzibar has come. Let us do it now peacefully with a handshake. The present union was never meant to benefit us at all.

    This is my humble contribution to the constitution debate.

    Wa Zamani