TZ celebrates 51-year old union

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President Jakaya Kikwete and the Chief of Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) Gen. Davis Mwamunyange inspecting the guard of honour at Uhuru Stadium, Dar es Salaam

Over the weekend Tanzanians came together to celebrate the political union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the formerly sovereign states that united in 1964 to form present day Republic of Tanzania.

Presiding over the colourful event at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salam, President Jakaya Kikwete urged Tanzanian youths build on what the founders started and uphold and strengthen the union.

The union was realized on April 26, 1964 when two leaders, the late Julius Nyerere, the then President of Republic of Tanganyika and the late Abeid Karume, then President of People’s Republic of Zanzibar signed the Articles of Union.

Reflecting on the half century union, Pius Msekwa Former National Assembly Speaker (1994-2005) said “experience shows several countries that had attempted to unite had enormously failed,” he said. “Be it in Europe or Asia, America or Africa our Union has remained firm.”

Msekwa observed that unification attempts failed in cases of Senegal and Gambia, Malaysia and Singapore as well as Syria and Egypt.

He echoed the president’s call by rallying today’s young generation to take on the baton “this is the time youth take the lead,” he added

Afrika Reporter spoke to a few Tanzanian citizens who had witnessed the momentous event 5 decades ago.
One Mwalimu Joyce Francis, said cracks surfaced at the beginning, but leaders like Nyerere and Karume couldn’t let them turn-down their ambitious plan that was motivated by cultural identity, similar political beliefs and demand for African unity.

Bibi Asha Hajji said the union between the two independent states is worth celebrating.
Ms Hajji pointed out the forthcoming general election and the referendum for proposed constitution as two major tests to the union.

Justice (rtd) Damian Lubuva, Chairman for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) assured the general public that the general election and the planned referendum will be held this year according to plan.

He called on youth in majority to participate in both the referendum and general election to execute their constitution rights.

“It’s a must to get a new constitution. And the general election is fixed, it has to be conducted,” he said.
According to the chairman, the commission was speeding up the entire registration process to update the voters register book ready for both events.

He repeatedly said the process to list voters was progressing very well with the addition of biometric voters register kits recently.
“We hope the exercise will be complete as planned,” the NEC boss said.