Whither Zanzibar? The Present Political Situation



In order to clearly understand the present political predicaments besetting the isles of Zanzibar, it is essential to delve into the past and take the ill-fated Union as the focal point of reference. On the 26th of April 1964, in a Machiavellian move designed to contain Abdulrahman Babu and his Umma Party radical fervor, Zanzibar President Abeid Karume and the Tanganyika President Julius Nyerere rushed through a Union between their two countries – without prior consultation of their people on either side.

The Articles of this haphazard Union need a closer examination to reveal their anomalous and oppressive nature. The Articles of Union should be above the Constitution or any other law of the country because this is a basic document creating through a treaty, a United Republic. To the contrary, the Constitution of the United Republic is not totally guided by the Articles nor does it reflect its spirits. Over the decades, this basic flaw in the Constitution has in part contributed to the disproportionate economic and social development opportunities for the people of Zanzibar – resulting in ‘unnecessary’ human misery, hardship and suffering. It is not possible to narrate all the shortcomings in this publication, but suffice to say that:

(a) The Union, in the first place, was not conceived with the noble aim of uplifting the condition of the peoples of Zanzibar and Tanganyika but rather for the personal aggrandizement of Nyerere and Karume.

(b) On the nature and form of the government, the constitutional form should have been that of loose federal scheme in so far as the distribution of power between the central government and the government of Zanzibar and Tanganyika were concerned.

(c) There should have been an elaborate and clear mention regarding the technicalities and policies involved in the contributions and distribution of revenue amongst the central governments of Zanzibar and Tanganyika.

(d) The validity of the Special Constitutional Court is legally questionable since it was not provided for under the list of Union matters. Moreover it has never convened despite the fact that a host of thorny issues have arisen on the question of interpretation of the constitution.

(e) The past few years have witnessed an arbitrary growth in the areas being covered by Union matters – without the knowledge or consent of the people of Zanzibar; in fact some of the interpretations being given to the issues in the List of Union matters by the Union government actually run contrary to the over- all aspirations of the people of Zanzibar.

(f) It must be emphasized that the Articles of Union, which is the treaty whereby two sovereign states (Tanganyika and Zanzibar) decided to unite on certain basic terms and conditions, did not abolish the states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

(WITHER ZANZIBAR?), A 1993 Publication by the CUF Department of Information and Publicity dedicated to the Peoples of Zanzibar in their Struggle for Democracy



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