Today – January 12, 2021 – marks the 57th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964, which resulted in the overthrow of the Sultan of Zanzibar and his mainly-Arab government by local African revolutionaries.
Fortunately, it was a relatively short-lived armed revolution that resulted in about 80 deaths and 200 wounded. In the event, the moderate leader of the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP), Abeid Amani Karume, became the new head of State and President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar – thus ending the Isles’ unenviable status as the Omani Empire’s Overseas Territory beginning in 1652.
On April 26, 1964, Zanzibar joined Tanganyika to establish the United Republic of Tanzania – but with Zanzibar becoming a semi-autonomous part of the Union, with almost complete political and economic autonomy.
The Union has not been entirely free of challenges, mostly political and financial/resources distribution and control between the two parties to the Union.
There indeed have been attempts now and then by critics and some ‘interested parties’ to break up the union and return to the status quo ante... However – and, by the grace of God – the moves have successfully been nipped in the bud.
Also every once in a while, challenges arise regarding the 22 (so-called) Union Matters regarding issues of common interest to both Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland, and which must be jointly attended to.
Today, we commemorate the Zanzibar Revolution – and we are about to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the Union come April 26, 2021.
In such a historic situation, we can do no better than to exhort all and sundry – including especially our two governments and related institutions, as well as our development partners and well-wishers – to do everything that is statutorily and humanly possible to perpetuate the Union.
Doing so would be in the best interests of Tanzanians today and well into the future for successor generations.
COMPLAINTS DON’T HELP YOUTH
A lot has been said about the importance of young people in Tanzania, or any other country for that matter. Quite often they are branded the leaders of tomorrow. In Tanzania, young people comprise a third of the population, and taking recent figures of the country’s population of around 56 million, it means there are about 19 million young Tanzanians.
This is a group of people that cannot be neglected, and has to be taken care of using all national resources available, especially in making them gainfully employed. Sadly, however, this country is not making full use of young people and the result is they resort to loitering, bhang smoking and doing other unbecoming activities bordering on crime.
There are many opportunities that they could be engaged in instead of idling about with nothing to do. One only has to travel upcountry by train or bus to appreciate the natural wealth that could be tapped through large-scale farming, livestock keeping, beekeeping or other activities.
But all this needs elaborate plans from all concerned, including politicians, planners and anybody that can help. Let us stop complaining about youth unemployment and get down to business.