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Zanzibar in the Tanzania Union

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Secessionism in African Politics

Part of the book series: Palgrave Series in African Borderlands Studies ((PSABS))


The union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was between two previously existing sovereign states, which in 1964, immediately after the Zanzibar Revolution, adopted a (semi-)federal model of constitutional government. Since 1964, there has been a gradual resurgence of Zanzibari nationalism due to a myriad of factors including the failure to undertake reconciliation, a poor economic record during the single-party period, the regional marginalization of Pemba, the social effects of neo-liberal reforms, regime resistance to reforming the union, and flawed elections, including in 2015. While race, ethnicity, and religion would appear to drive secessionist politics on the islands, the reality is that after half a century, the union as a “lived experience” has not delivered a better life for the majority of Zanzibaris.

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  1. 1.

    Gray (1963) and Martin (1978).

  2. 2.

    Flint (1963).

  3. 3.

    Freeman-Grenville (1963: 157).

  4. 4.

    Jennings (2011).

  5. 5.

    Also known as the “Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty.”

  6. 6.

    See Zeller and Melber (2018).

  7. 7.

    Flint (1963) and (Martin 1978).

  8. 8.

    Jennings (2011).

  9. 9.

    Brown (2010: 618).

  10. 10.

    Sheriff (1991).

  11. 11.

    Lofchie (1965: 53–58).

  12. 12.

    Bakari (2001: 47–48) and Flint (1963: 383–384).

  13. 13.

    Bakari (2001: 48) and Sheriff (1987).

  14. 14.

    Sheriff (1991).

  15. 15.

    Lofchie (1965).

  16. 16.

    For a firsthand account of an important pan-African initiative seeking to forge an Afro-Shirazi Party-Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ASP-ZNP) united front, see A. M. Babu (1991: 228).

  17. 17.

    Sheriff (1991).

  18. 18.

    Cameron (2002b: 41).

  19. 19.

    Martin (1978: 58–59).

  20. 20.

    Okello eventually disappeared in his native Uganda during the Idi Amin years.

  21. 21.

    Clayton (1981: 90, 99).

  22. 22.

    Mapuri (1996) and Okello (1973).

  23. 23.

    Ayany (1970: 126–127) and Cameron (2004b: 105).

  24. 24.

    Bakari (2001: 104–106).

  25. 25.

    Cameron (2002b).

  26. 26.

    Speller (2007: 294) and Wilson (1989).

  27. 27.

    Lofchie (1965: 285–287) and Shivji (1990: 21–22).

  28. 28.

    The constitutional divisions of power and three-government arrangement were strikingly similar to the Ethiopia-Eritrea Federation of 1952. The failure of the Halie Sellasie regime to enforce the federal provisions unleashed the 30-year Eritrean war of liberation. See G. Cameron (2004a: 41).

  29. 29.

    Shivji (1990: 27–28).

  30. 30.

    Speller (2007: 293).

  31. 31.

    Clayton (1981).

  32. 32.

    For a harrowing account of an Umma member who survived Karume’s East-German-trained security services, see T. G. Burgess (2010a).

  33. 33.

    From the 1977 merger onwards, I refer to the former ASP as Chama Cha Mapinduzi—“CCM Zanzibar,” the governing party of Zanzibar, and Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) as “CCM Dodoma,” the governing party at the union level.

  34. 34.

    Jumbe (1994: 53).

  35. 35.

    McHenry (1994: 196).

  36. 36.

    Shivji (1990: 56–68).

  37. 37.

    For a recent summary, see F. Jjuuko and G. Muruiuki (2010).

  38. 38.

    For an in-depth treatment of constitutional and party reforms during this period, see H. Othman and A. Mlimuka (1990, 58–169).

  39. 39.

    Othman and Mlimuka (1990: 169).

  40. 40.

    Bakari (2001: 121–122).

  41. 41.

    See T. G. Burgess (2010b: 430) and Loimeier (2006: 16–17).

  42. 42.

    Shao (1993: 84).

  43. 43.

    Campbell and Stein (1991).

  44. 44.

    A Muslim and Zanzibari, Mwinyi is widely perceived to have gone some way to redressing religious imbalance in the civil service by promoting Muslims in the union government. While to some extent popular in Zanzibar as union President, Mwinyi also presided over the repression of many Zanzibari nationalists during the transition to multiparty politics.

  45. 45.

    Brown (2010).

  46. 46.

    McHenry (1994: 189–213).

  47. 47.

    Maliyamkono (2000: 213–244).

  48. 48.

    McHenry (1994: 198).

  49. 49.

    Rawlence (2005: 516–517).

  50. 50.

    Human Rights Watch (2002).

  51. 51.

    Cameron (2009: 164–165).

  52. 52.

    Cameron (2009).

  53. 53.

    After Mkapa, a mainlander, stepped down, Zanzibaris widely expected that the next union president would be a Zanzibari. The CCM union government said that this was not constitutionally guaranteed. The idea of a constitutionally sanctioned rotating presidency between the two parts of the union was mooted in the constitutional review. See Ibrahim (2012).

  54. 54.

    Jennings (2011: 3–4).

  55. 55.

    Bakari and Makulilo (2012: 195–218) and Matheson (2012: 594–596).

  56. 56.

    Babieya (2011: 94).

  57. 57.

    Ibrahim (2012).

  58. 58.

    Anyimadu (2016).

  59. 59.

    While President Shein rejected the election results on the Isles, he also accepted on the same day, at the same polling stations, the voting results for the union presidential and legislative elections (Branson 2016; Throup 2016).

  60. 60.

    In the 2010–2015 HRP, CCM had a total of 48 seats and CUF 33, plus the Attorney General, for a total of 82 seats (ZRG 2016).

  61. 61.

    Brown (2010: 628–629).

  62. 62.

    Brewin (2016). NCCR-Mageuzi won a seat as did a newer left-leaning party called Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT).

  63. 63.

    John Magufuli, the new union President, won with almost 60% of the vote. Edward Lowassa, his chief rival under the UKAWA banner, and a recent defector from the CCM old guard, garnered close to 40% of the vote.

  64. 64.

    Chauvin (2015).

  65. 65.

    Brown (2010).

  66. 66.

    Many youth, for instance, belong to the post-revolution generation and are more concerned with employment than history lessons. See G. Cameron (2002a).

  67. 67.

    Brown (2010: 629, 631).

  68. 68.

    Fouere (2012: 672–689), Glassman (2011: 298–299), and Myers (2000: 429–448).

  69. 69.

    Recent work on elite narratives and memory is sound but requires greater engagement with critical political economy to give a better picture of the ways in which material forces articulate with public narratives. See Fouere (2012), Loimeir (2006), and Myers (2000).

  70. 70.

    Cameron (2004b: 103–119).

  71. 71.

    Matheson (2012).

  72. 72.

    Dean (2013: 31–32).

  73. 73.

    An “investor-led” agricultural strategy is now promoted by the Zanzibar government as the main strategy to tackle the monumental and historical challenges facing agriculture. See Zanzibar Revolutionary Government (2009).

  74. 74.

    Brown (2010).

  75. 75.

    van Buren (2011: 6).

  76. 76.

    Cameron (2002a).

  77. 77.

    Cameron (2009: 172).

  78. 78.

    Signs of the emergence of political Islam on Zanzibar were discernible in the early 1990s with political liberalization and the decline in the legitimacy of the old radical nationalist system, a trend perhaps not unlike other contexts, including in Arab North Africa. Religious schisms have also become apparent in recent years between Christian and Moslem communities on the mainland itself over the perceived hegemony of the former in politics and the economy. See G. C. van de Bruinhorst (2009: 127–150).

  79. 79.

    Cameron (2002a: 313–330).

  80. 80.

    Burgess (2010b: 429–450).

  81. 81.

    Maghimbi et al. (2011).

  82. 82.

    Skocpol (1979: 3).


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Cameron, G. (2019). Zanzibar in the Tanzania Union. In: de Vries, L., Englebert, P., Schomerus, M. (eds) Secessionism in African Politics. Palgrave Series in African Borderlands Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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