President Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar, right, is welcomed by President Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika on his arrival at Dar-Es-Salaam airport, Tanzania on April 27, 1964.
InternationalIndiaAfricaExclusiveOn April 7, Tanzania celebrates Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume Day, a holiday that commemorates the first president of Zanzibar and vice-president of Tanzania. On this occasion, Sputnik sits down with his son, a former ambassador of Tanzania to several European countries, to discuss the founding father’s deeds, ideas and legacy. People of Tanzania should follow the path paved by the country’s founding fathers, Abeid Amani Karume and Julius Nyerere, by maintaining the union they passed down to future generations, says Ali Abeid Amani Karume in an interview with Sputnik.According to the former diplomat and the second son of Abeid Amani Karume, Tanzania is a unique state: the only new African country that was established as a union of two countries, two former colonies. He underlines that this union now should be stronger than ever with people staying united and forward-looking.“We are the only country in Africa that is a new country, which was formed on April 26, 1964, by Abeid Amani Karume and Julius Kambarage Nyerere. So we have to maintain that. Otherwise, if we break this union, we will go back to becoming colonial countries again. So let’s keep our country’s view,” he states.In 1963, the British Empire granted independence to the Sultanate of Zanzibar, but anti-Arab sentiments in the archipelago led to a revolution, as a result of which a republic was established. Abeid Karume became the president of the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. In 1964, the new republic merged with Tanganyika into a new federal state — the United Republic of Tanzania, while maintaining broad autonomy. Abeid Karume became president of Zanzibar, and the same year he took the post of vice-president of the federation.
AfricaJoseph Kasa-Vubu, Father of DR Congo Independence 25 March, 06:11 GMTThe diplomat explains that uniting countries was not an easy task as there “were a lot of pitfalls in trying to convince the population,” given the fact that it was divided into two groups – Zanzibaris of African and Arab descent. The latter, he says, didn’t support the idea of creating a union, because before the revolution they were in power. However, he underlines, Zanzibar historically was part of Africa. There is a strong connection between the archipelago and the mainland in many respects, as for many years people of both were cooperating with each other in various fields, including “cultural exchanges, especially in sports.” Thus, his father, Abeid Karume decided to unite Tanganyika and Zanzibar.“I think he drew his inspiration from the fact that the majority of Zanzibar, especially those of African descent, were always behind him and supported his movement, and supported his political party, the Afro-Shirazi Party, and also supported the whole idea of uniting with Tanganyika,” he explains.Talking about Karume Day that commemorates the assassination of his father, who died in a terrorist attack in 1972, he underlines that this special day showcases that the country won’t go off course and will continue with the policies of Abeid Karume. Those who killed him, the diplomat asserts, wanted “to end the revolution and try to get back to the status quo that existed before.” Therefore, the country celebrates this day as a day of remembrance, as a symbol of its “steady course” and commitment to keeping union.
"We are using this day, Karume Day, as a day of saying: ‘Look! This is the man who was responsible for bringing back our freedom, true freedom and making one Republic again,” Abeid Karume’s son highlights, adding: “The Union is there to stay, our freedom is there to stay, and that's how we're gonna keep it and we don't want it any other way.”
A ‘Simple Man’ Who United Nations
Speaking about his father’s personality, he reveals that he was an ordinary man, “very simple” and practical, who had a “commonsensical approach to solving problems.” He taught his children not to be arrogant, just because they were the sons of the president, and to “be of service to the people.” The diplomat underlines that his father taught him the spirit of being close to ordinary people and cooperating with them.On the day dedicated to his father and his legacy, Ali Abeid Amani Karume, used this opportunity to deliver the message to the people of Tanzania, encouraging them to stay united and become the role model, inspiring other countries to move forward and develop together.
“Let's build this new nation to be a shining bright light on top of the mountain, so that other African countries can emulate us and start rising, and then we can go and attempt to reach that objective of arriving at a united Africa,” he concludes.
AfricaYoung Malawians Shouldn’t Take Independence for Granted as Heroes Must Be Remembered, Expert Says4 March, 10:41 GMT