Tanzanians Mark 48 Years Of Unity

Analysts have called for the review of the unity pact as Tanzanians commemorate the 48th anniversary of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar Thursday.

Others called for the holding of a referendum that would allow people to decide whether they still needed the union or not.

Mr Ismail Jussa, the Civic United Front (CUF) deputy secretary-general, said the union was facing a lot of challenges, including violation of the Articles of the Union.

He said when the pact came into force on April 26, 1964, there were only 11 Articles of the Union, but these had since doubled to 22 without the involvement of both the mainland and Zanzibar.

“The Union accord stipulates that nobody is allowed to change the Articles of the Union without consultation from both parties but this accord has been violated,” said Mr Jussa.

According to the Acts of the Union that were later incorporated in the interim Constitution of 1965 of the United Republic of Tanzania, 11 matters were agreed to be part of the union under the guidance of the government.

They were the Constitution and Government of the United Republic, external affairs, defence, police, emergency powers, citizenship, immigration, external trade and borrowing, the public service of the United Republic, income tax, corporation tax, customs and excise duties and harbours, civil aviation, posts and telegraphs.

However, these were increased to 22 to include all matters concerning coinage, currency for the purpose of legal tender, banks and all banking business, foreign exchange and exchange control, industrial licensing and statistics, higher education and mineral oil resources, including crude oil and natural gas.

Others were the National Examinations Council of Tanzania and all matters connected with the functions of that council, civil aviation, research, meteorology, statistics, the Court of Appeal of the United Republic and registration of political parties and other matters related to political parties.

The Singida East legislator on the ticket of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), Mr Tundu Lissu, also called for a referendum to decide the fate of the union.

He said although the new Constitutional Review Act barred wananchi (citizens) from discussing whether to end the union or not, Chadema would mobilise people to discussing the fate of the union.

Win-win situation

He said his party believed that many people were not involved in unifying Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

“I don’t see this union surviving under the current situation because many things were done in secret between Nyerere (Julius Kambarage) and his co-founder Karume (Abeid Amani…we need those secrets to come to light so that people could decide to continue with the union or not,” said Lissu.

Mr Lissu, who is also a Justice and Constitution Affairs shadow minister, said the union was dealt a huge blow Zanzibar adopted a new constitution.

The secretary-general of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Mr Wilson Mukama, admitted that since the union was turning 48, there were still issues which needed to be discussed.

He mentioned the issue of oil and gas which had been at the centre of discussion for some years now.

“The issue of oil and gas was incorporated in union matters in 1968 but it is still discussable so as to have a win-win situation among people from both parties,” Mr Mukama said.

The outspoken chairman of the Democratic Party, the Rev Christopher Mtikila, said it was important for people to be given a chance to decide if they wanted to continue with the union.

“In any marriage, there should be a consent from both parties involved, but sadly this is not the case for our union,” said the Rev Mtikila.

But during the swearing in ceremony of the constitutional review team at state house recently, President Jakaya Kikwete was quoted as drawing the line on the impeding debate on the sovereignty of the United Republic, telling the team not to entertain those whose intention would be to break up the union.

“You should know that this Commission is for the Constitution Review Process and it won’t be asking for views whether or not to split the union … we cannot break up the union, but we welcome views on how it can be strengthened,” President Kikwete said after presiding over the swearing in of the 34-member commission.

Via Africa Review

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