Monday, November 06, 2006

OIC: A Pain In Tanganyika's Rear End

I am sure Nyerere didn't see this coming. I am sure it was all rosy and fine that 26th day of April in 1964. His mind was rushing with excitement about the Pan-Africanism. You know, if you want the whole of Africa to be united, you have to start in your own back yard. So the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar seemed to be a wonderful, romantic marriage. Nyerere was so in love with Zanzibar that he gave up everything Tanganyikan, while allowing Zanzibar to retain its sovereignty.

I cannot blame Zanzibar for that. They had the right to bring forth the conditions of the union, one of which is retaining their power. Only that Nyerere was fooled. That, my friend, was a big mistake. And for that mistake, Tanganyika's rear end is being bitten today.

I know this is a controversial topic, but I think we owe it to ourselves to dig into it and be honest. Embracing kufunika funika mambo has gotten us here in the first place. I mean, we are committed to the union thing, but who knows what is in the original article? I am sure none of us has seen it.

In my opinion, allowing Zanzibar to retain her sovereignty set the mainland for baby-sitting for ages to come. Just a host of things can prove my point. When was the last time Zanzibar paid their electric bill? They even wanted a share of gold sales from the mainland. A problem child? You bet Zanzibar is.

Nyerere saw it coming in 1984, but I wonder why he didn’t do anything serious about it (I am convinced that Nyerere was so smart, intellectually, but was so na├»ve when it came to human relations. He failed to understand that trust is earned. Simply because someone sung the “kidumu Chama cha Mapinduzi” chorus didn’t mean they believed in his vision). Apparently, Aboud Jumbe and his boy Seif Hamad wanted more Zanzibar autonomy. Nyerere in his wisdom forced the resignation of Jumbe. [Source: Nation Encyclopedia]

Did forcing Jumbe’s resignation solve anything? Absolutely not. Zanzibar was coming and coming hard. In 1992, under the leadership of Dr. Salmin Amour, Zanzibar secretly joined the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). The move was thwarted, but guess what? Mr. Karume is back with the same issue again ,14 years later. It appears that some things never change. Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka tu.

The Tanzanian Constitution (Chapter 3, Section 9(2)) states this:
Without prejudice to the relevant laws of the United Republic the profession of religion, worship and propagation of religion shall be free and a private affair of an individual; and the affairs and management of religious bodies shall not be part of the activities of the State authority” [Source: Kituo Cha Katiba]

Well, this is what I got from the OIC website, with regards to the objectives of the OIC:
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an inter-governmental organization grouping fifty-seven States. These States decided to pool their resources together, combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interest and ensure the progress and well-being of their peoples and those of other Muslims in the world over" [Source:]

Sounds to me like OIC is a faith-based organization.

I don’t have a problem with the existence or the objectives of OIC. OIC is doing what is their prerogative to do. Nonetheless, the Tanzania constitution clearly states that engaging in religious affairs is not part of the government’s agenda. So for Tanzania to join OIC is plain unconstitutional. Why is Karume then deliberately trying to bring something that is, and has already been ruled unconstitutional 14 years back? Does it matter whether Zanzibar joins OIC solo or part of the URT? We are not that dumb. At least I am not.

In my opinion, the introduction of the OIC issue by Mr. Karume is an insult to all of us. It is an insult to our constitution, which he swore to abide by and defend. It is an insult to other faiths in Tanzania, which he and the Zanzibari Muslims want to drag into joining an Islamic faith-based organization. But you know who are disgusting the most? It is our MPs who have no guts to rebuke a deliberate move to violate our constitution.

I am as religious tolerant as the next guy, but some things are not worth tolerating. Especially, when such things are done as sure sign of dissrespect for my faith.

Another troubling trend is the fact that the OIC agenda has been brought up when; coincidentally, there is a Muslim president in Tanzania. I don’t to make any conclusions, but the fact that Dr. Amour brought up the OIC issue during the tenure of Mr. Mwinyi and the issue never came up during the Mkapa's tenure proves my argument. It gives the impression that the presence of a Muslim president gives the Zanzibar Muslims some sort of an audacity to bring up controversial religious agendas. This is a trend that is surely sending Tanzania into deeper troubles. It is an accident waiting to happen. It is a time-bomb ready to explode– mark my word.

Given that the OIC issue has not originated from the mainland Muslims proves yet another fact – Zanzibar has been and will continue to be the thorn in the mainland’s flesh. From a political correctness standpoint, Nyerere has nothing to be blame for, but truthfully this mzee got Tanganyika into trouble. To untangle the mess will require a very special kind of leader. Mwinyi couldn’t do it, BWM couldn’t either, and I am sure JMK has no guts to do it. So Zanzibar will continue to be a pain in our rear end. I don't have anything against Zanzibar, but I believe Tanganyika can do just fine without her.

In retrospect, I wonder what Nyerere was smoking on April 26, 1964. Seriously.


luihamu said...

Metty,yuo have a point and i think its time to let Zanzibar depend on her.Mwalimu had a good idea but the problems comes when implemeting the rules,as to my point of view let Zanzibar be on its on and we will still be good neighbours.The issue of OIC and the methond used to understand it,i think was a problem.Why cant the main land let Zanzibar be on its on?Things are changing,the next generation to come will never mind the muungano of Tanganyika and zanziba.

Metty kwanini wenzetu sanasana viongozi wanakuwa na mtazamo wa miaka 40,30 mbele?

Jaduong Metty said...

Let's face it. Nyerere's vision was utopian. He had a very romantic dream that was against realities. The union was and is a bad idea. At no point, even during Nyerere's own tenure, the marriage was ever smooth.

The problem is that Nyerere wanted to be right all the time. I have never heard the man apologize for anything. He only knew how to play philosophical and mental games. History will prove him wrong on the union issue. Trust me.

As to why we don't have visionary leaders? I have no clue. I think it all boils down to Nyerere again. Kambona and the rest didn't like the Ujamaa thing, I believe they saw something that Nyerere didn't want to accept. Was Kambona right? You bet he was. The culture Nyerere created was of fear and intimidation. No one could dare venture away from his vision, lest you're viewed as a traitor.

We are still suffering from that culture today. Nyerere didn't train anybody to think for themselves. He didn't mentor or groom anybody for leadership. As a result, we have leaders who have no even a clue what is written in the constitution.

luihamu said...

Metty i got you,my main wory is that we still have that fear,we cant even ask anything concerning our nation.Kwa mtazamo wangu the issue of Tanesco,water problem and many others ,we Tanzanians keep quite its like its non of our business but we still suffer.Life is tough and every young man is dreaming how he/she will get to Europe or America.We have to let that fear go away.

Jaduong Metty said...

Again, the fear to question those in power comes from the culture Nyerere created. Folks were intimidated.

Isn't it just recently a DC slapped a farmer and nothing was done? I don't know if any sane individual in TZ will risk questioning the system. Chances are, questioning the system will lead to losing everything..

But I am hopeful that things will change. Nothing stays the same forever...only I wonder if we will see such changes in during our generation.

Anonymous said...

There's a looming religious conflict in Tanzania...The call for independent Islamic Courts is not a surprise, after all this is what the OIC advocates for - "The Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Abiding by the lofty, moral and religious principles particularly the provisions of the Islamic Sharia as well as the human heritage of the Islamic Ummah."


Karume was no fool to come up with this suggestion at such a time as this! Sakata la kuvunja mabucha ya nguruwe lilitokea wakati wa Mwinyi!

I see a trend here....when a muslim is in power, our muslim brethren wanamea pembe!

I wonder where JK stands in all this looming religious motivated is a good opportune to observe the wisdom behind his leadership

Anonymous said...

U guys are just pleasing your selves about the Union issues.
Before u raise such points as ones on this blog about Zanzibar in the union, first research the following and it will tell u why Nyerere was so romantic to
1. What was the ZAnzibaris' GDP and what was Tanganyikans'?
2. How many college graduates were in Tanganyika and how many were in Zanzibar?
3. How and where the marine traffic would travel to Tanganyika if not using Zanzibar waters?
4.How did the BoT stated and what was the Zanzibar contribution?
5. How did the missionaries who made some of you non-muslims traveled to Tanganyika?
6. And also, what were the borders of Zanzibar in the 17th and 18th century?
May be answers to these questions, will open your minds and enlighten to why Nyerere wanted to swallow a bitter "Zanzibar pill", and why the contemporary leaders still can't spit it.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 4:19PM
Thanks for a historical perspective. But could you respond to your own questions in a contemporary Tanganyika v. Zanzibar?

Besides, how many of Nyerere's "visons" have gone wayward?

It is one thing to go back in the historical files, and it is another thing to chart a new vision. As a contemporary Tanganyikans, I don't see any "strong" reasons for clinging to Zanzibar.

Please convince me.

Anonymous said...

People have got right to comment in whatever they like nowadays,and this brings a bit of problems.When we joined with Zanzibar in 1964,it was clearly a deliberate decision which I believe was well thought through esp with Mwalimu in the picture.Yes there are some problems with the union,we cannot deny it.But the fact stands that we have got a lot from Zanzibar too.It being part of us,we have got a free adverting for our growing tourism industry today.When you look at Tanzania's tourism,Zanzibar stands fore without a doubt.Again I am not sure about the constitution,but I think somehow Tanganyika has taken a very big piece of Zanzibar's development.What I think,without Tanganyika,Zanzibar could have been the current Mauritius or Seychelles.