President Paul Kagame has hailed the revolutionaries who led to the liberation of Zanzibar 60 years ago, eventually leading to the merger with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania -something he said if proof if Africans came together they can achieve a lot.
The Head of State on Friday joined other leaders including President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gacagua and host President Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi of Zanzibar to mark the 60th anniversary of Zanzibar Revolution.
The Head of State arrived in Zanzibar where he later joined fellow leaders and thousands Zanzibaris to commemorate the 60th Anniversary since the revolution of the island nation.
The colourful ceremony at the country’s main stadium, Amaan, was characterised by a military parade and a marchpast of different groups in show of solidarity since the revolution which occurred in January 1964, when members of the African majority overthrew the minority Arab ruling elite and later merged with what was known then as Tanganyika, to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
Speaking at the celebrations, President Kagame congratulated Zanzibar and the United Republic of Tanzania on the occasion and the
“I’m honoured to be with you in Zanzibar to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the revolution. I congratulate you the people of Zanzibar and the leaders who led the revolution as well as those who followed in their footsteps to sustain the gains,” President Kagame said.
“On this historic day, we remember the brave men and women who fought against injustice. This period also marked the beginning of a successful union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika, which formed the nation of Tanzania. As Africans, this is proof that we are capable of coming together to solve our own problems, harnessing opportunities, that come with that,”
“The accomplishments of Zanzibar and Tanzania, as the whole, are resource of pride for our East African region and our continent. In Rwanda we also refused to let our tragic past define who we are. As a people, nothing is impossible when we work together,” President Kagame said.
The Zanzibar Revolution, known as Mapinduzi ya Zanzibar in Swahili, led to the overthrow of the Sultan of Zanzibar and his mainly Arab government by the island’s majority Black African population.
The Zanzibar Revolution’s 60th anniversary celebrations kicked off three weeks ago with nationwide cleaning of the environment and the launch of projects.
Zanzibar was an ethnically diverse state consisting of several islands off the east coast of Tanganyika. It had become fully independent in 1963, with responsibility for its own defense and foreign affairs, as a result of Britain giving up its protectorate over it.
In a series of parliamentary elections preceding this change, the Arab minority succeeded in retaining the hold on power it had inherited from Zanzibar’s former existence as an overseas territory of Oman.
Frustrated by under-representation in Parliament, despite winning 54 of the vote in the July 1963 election, the African Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) early in the morning of January 12, 1964, led by John Okello, youth leader of the ASP’s Pemba branch, mobilised around 600–800 men on the main island of Unguja (Zanzibar Island).
Having overrun the country’s police force and appropriated their weaponry, the insurgents proceeded to Zanzibar Town, where they overthrew the Sultan and his government.