Tuesday, 24 April 2007


In 1890 what was left of the sultanate was proclaimed a British protectorate, and in 1891 a constitutional government was instituted under British auspices, with Sir Lloyd Mathews as first minister. In August 1896, on the death of the ruling sultan, Hamad ibn Thuwayn, the royal palace at Zanzibar was seized by Khalid, a son of Sultan Barghash, who proclaimed himself sultan. The British government disapproved, and, as he refused to submit, the palace was bombarded by British warships. Khalid escaped and took refuge at the German consulate, whence he was conveyed to German East Africa. Hamud ibn Mohammed was then installed as sultan (August 27, 1896). In 1897 the legal status of slavery was finally abolished. In 1913 the control of the protectorate passed from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office, when the posts of consul general and first minister were merged into that of British resident. At the same time, a Protectorate Council was constituted as an advisory body. In 1926 the advisory council was replaced by nominated executive and legislative councils.

Khalifa ibn Harub became sultan in 1911. He was the leading Muslim prince in East Africa, and his moderating influence did much to steady Muslim opinion in that part of Africa at times of political crisis, especially during the two world wars. He died on October 9, 1960, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Abdullah ibn Khalifa.

In November 1960 the British Parliament approved a new constitution for Zanzibar. The first elections to the Legislative Council then established were held in January 1961 and ended in a deadlock. Further elections, held in June, were marked by serious rioting and heavy casualties. Ten seats were won by the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP), representing mainly the African population; 10 by the Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP), representing mainly the Zanzibari Arabs; and 3 by the Zanzibar and Pemba People's Party (ZPPP), an offshoot of the ZNP. The ZNP and ZPPP combined to form a government with Mohammed Shamte Hamadi as chief minister.

A constitutional conference held in London in 1962 was unable to fix a date for the introduction of internal self-government or for independence, because of failure to agree on franchise qualifications, the number of elected seats in the legislature, and the timing of the elections. An independent commission, however, subsequently delimited new constituencies and recommended an increase in the numbers of the Legislative Council, which the council accepted, also agreeing to the introduction of universal adult suffrage. Internal self-government was established in June 1963, and elections held the following month resulted in a victory for the ZNP–ZPPP coalition, which won 18 seats, the ASP winning the remaining 13. Final arrangements for independence were made at a conference in London in September. In October it was agreed that the Kenya coastal strip—a territory that extended 10 miles inland along the Kenya coast from the Tanganyika frontier to Kipini and that had long been administered by Kenya although nominally under the sovereignty of Zanzibar—would become an integral part of Kenya on that country's attainment of independence.
On December 10, 1963, Zanzibar achieved independence as a member of the Commonwealth. In January 1964 the Zanzibar government was overthrown by an internal revolution, Sayyid Jamshid ibn Abdullah (who had succeeded to the sultanate in July 1963 on his father's death) was deposed, and a republic was proclaimed.

Although the revolution was carried out by only about 600 armed men under the leadership of the communist-trained “field marshal” John Okello, it won considerable support from the African population. Thousands of Arabs were massacred in riots, and thousands more fled the island. Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume, leader of the Afro-Shirazi Party, was installed as president of the People's Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. Sheikh Abdulla Kassim Hanga was appointed prime minister, and Abdul Rahman Mohammed (“Babu”), leader of the new left-wing Umma (The Masses) Party (formed by defectors from the ZNP), became minister for defense and external affairs. Pending the establishment of a new constitution, the cabinet and all government departments were placed under the control of a Revolutionary Council of 30 members, which was also vested with temporary legislative powers. Zanzibar was proclaimed a one-party state. Measures taken by the new government included the nationalization of all land, with further powers to confiscate any immovable property without compensation except in cases of undue hardship.
The Tanganyikan constitution was amended in 1962, and Julius Nyerere became executive president of the Republic of Tanganyika. In 1963 TANU was declared the only legal party, but voters in each constituency were often offered a choice between more than one TANU candidate in parliamentary elections. That this arrangement amounted to something more than lip service to the idea of democracy was demonstrated in 1965 and in subsequent elections when, although Nyerere was reelected again and again as the sole candidate for president, a considerable number of legislators, including cabinet ministers, lost their seats.

An army mutiny was suppressed in January 1964 only after the president had reluctantly sought the assistance of British marines. Nyerere's authority was quickly restored, however, and in April he made an agreement with President Karume of Zanzibar to establish the United Republic of Tanzania, with Nyerere himself as president and Karume as first vice president. (Despite unification, for years Zanzibar continued to pursue its own policies, paying little attention to mainland practices.)

Nyerere's chief external task was to convince the outside world, particularly the Western powers, that Tanzania's foreign policy was to be one of nonalignment; but the overt involvement of the Eastern bloc in Zanzibar, as well as Nyerere's own insistence that to rectify the imbalance created in the colonial era Tanzania must turn more to the East for aid, did little to make the task easier. The high moral tone taken by the president over Britain's role in Rhodesia and over the supply of British arms to South Africa also strained the bonds of friendship between the two countries, with Tanzania severing diplomatic relations with Britain from 1965 to 1968. The consequent loss of aid from Britain was more than made good by help from Eastern countries, notably from China, which culminated in 1970 in the offer of an interest-free Chinese loan to finance the construction of a railway line linking Dar es Salaam with Zambia.

Though Nyerere fully appreciated the generous assistance his country was receiving, he was anxious to impress upon his countrymen the need for maximum self-reliance. Political freedom, he insisted, was useless if the country was to be enslaved by foreign investors. His views were formulated in the Arusha Declaration of February 5, 1967. The resources of the country, Nyerere said, were owned by the whole people and were held in trust for their descendants. The leaders must set an example by rejecting the perquisites of a capitalist system and should draw only one salary. Banks must be nationalized, though compensation would be given to shareholders; the same would apply to the more important commercial companies. Agriculture, however, was the key to development, and only greater productivity could hold at bay the spectre of poverty. To give a fillip to his argument, people were to be moved into cooperative villages where they could work together for their mutual benefit.

Nyerere's exhortations did not arouse the enthusiasm for which he had hoped. Individuals resisted his plans for collectivization, and not even the majority of his supporters wholeheartedly adopted his moral stand. The cooperative village scheme failed, bringing additional pressure to bear upon an already desperately weak economy. The sisal industry, one of those nationalized, became badly run down by the mid-1970s because of inefficient management.

Nyerere's criticisms were not reserved for his own people, nor yet for the wealthy nations of the world. In 1968 he challenged the rules of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) by recognizing the secession of Biafra from Nigeria, and in 1975 he attacked the OAU for planning to hold its summit meeting in Uganda, where Idi Amin was acting with extreme cruelty. Relations with Kenya also deteriorated, and in 1977 the East African Community ceased to exist after the closure of the Kenyan border. Even more challenging to the OAU's policy of nonintervention in the affairs of member states was the attack launched against Uganda in January 1979 after Amin had invaded the northwestern corner of Tanzania in October 1978. The retention of Tanzanian troops in Uganda for several years after Amin's overthrow, together with Nyerere's long-standing friendship with Uganda's former president, Milton Obote, also led to strained relations with some of Uganda's leaders as well as arousing suspicions in Kenya. Elsewhere in Africa, however, Nyerere was able to play an authoritative role, notably in the negotiations leading to the independence of Zimbabwe and in the formation of an organization of African states to try to resist economic domination by South Africa.

Events in Zanzibar caused continuing concern for the mainland leadership. The arbitrary arrest and punishment of anyone believed to oppose the state gave rise to regret that the constitution of the joint republic prevented the mainland authorities from intervening in the island's affairs where questions of law and justice were involved. The failure to hold elections in Zanzibar also contrasted unfavourably with developments on the mainland. In April 1972 Karume was assassinated by members of the military. His successor, Aboud Jumbe, had been a leading member of Karume's government, and, while his policies did not differ markedly from those of Karume, they appeared to be moving gradually closer into line with mainland practices. The amalgamation of TANU and the ASP under the title of Revolutionary Party (Chama cha Mapinduzi; CCM) early in 1977 was a hopeful sign but was followed by demands for greater autonomy for Zanzibar. This trend was checked when Ali Hassan Mwinyi succeeded Jumbe in 1984 and became president of the joint republic after Nyerere resigned in November 1985; however, in the late 1980s dissent resurfaced in Zanzibar, culminating in the revelation in January 1993 that Zanzibar had joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Criticism on the mainland forced its withdrawal later that year.

Mwinyi inherited an economy suffering from the country's lack of resources, the fall in world prices for Tanzanian produce, the rise in petroleum prices, and inefficient management. An acute shortage of food added still further to his problems. Though he promised to follow Nyerere's policy of self-reliance, Mwinyi soon concluded that his predecessor's resistance to foreign aid could no longer be sustained. In accepting an offer of assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1986, Mwinyi adopted some structural reforms and furthered the devaluation of the currency begun in 1984 by Nyerere, who also had denationalized the state-run sector of the sisal industry in 1985. Moreover, private enterprise had been allowed to take over other areas of business.

In May 1992 the constitution was amended to provide for a multiparty political system, and in 1995 the first national elections under this system were held; Benjamin Mkapa of the CCM was elected president. Mkapa continued the economic reforms pursued by his predecessors. Beginning in the mid-1990s and continuing into the 2000s, Tanzania's already-tenuous economy and food supply were strained by the number of refugees arriving from the neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo); the country eventually requested international aid to assist with the care of the refugees. Meanwhile, in 1998, a bomb attack by terrorists on the United States embassy in Dar es Salaam left 11 people dead and many more injured.

Mkapa was reelected in late 2000 amid allegations of electoral fraud in Zanzibar. Several violent demonstrations followed, including one in January 2001 where police intervention resulted in at least 40 people dead and 100 people injured.

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