Monday, April 29, 2013

Thousands thrilled at Uhuru stadium for Union celebrations

ON Friday last week, PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete led thousands of Tanzanians who thronged at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam to mark the 49 years of the Tanganyika and Zanzibar union which formed Tanzania in April, 26th 1964 in a colorful celebration marked by a military parade and cultural shows. He arrived at the stadium at 10.15 in a resplendent dark suit on board an open special State House car standing on the rear wearing his characteristic broad smile waving to people who responded with deafening cheers, clapping and ululation while being flanked by the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Davis Mwamunyange. His motorcade was being escorted by a dozen of police motorcycle riders. He later proceeded to the saluting dais and was greeted by a 21 gun salute while at the same time the national anthem was being played before inspecting a guard of parade mounted by ten units of gallant defense and security forces armed forces including TPDF, Police, Prisons and National Service soldiers. This year’s union celebrations under the theme “Peace, tranquility and development are the good results of our union, let us cope and protect it” as usual was graced by government leaders, diplomats, business executives, political leaders and ordinary people. There were no any invited leaders from outside the country.  After inspecting the guard, the well drilled men and women soldiers first moved around in a slow march then in quick march before hitting goose steps to thunderous applause which was accompanied by wild screams in approval from thousands who turned out to witness the event.  The servicemen and women finally surged forward by 15 steps and pledged loyalty to their commander in chief in display of gallantry, the units led by military brass finally marched outside the ground and saluted the commander in chief who joined other national leaders at the main dais. After that, two special fast running military planes for training and jet fighters performed a military show in respect of the guest of honour, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania. These were controlled in systematic styles as they moved from South to North waving a fearing look to spectators in the stadium. Earlier in the morning security people had a hard time to control the influx of people into Uhuru stadium controlling thousands of people who started to flock in at around 07.00 in the morning. The situation which later compelled the officers to open the ultra-modern national stadium and allowed some people in to watch the event after having realized they could not find a space at Uhuru stadium.  The arrival of the President Kikwete had been preceded by government leaders including former national Presidents of the second and third phase government.

President Jakaya Kikwete inspecting a guard of TPDF women soldiers during the 49th Union celebrations at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam.
These were Ally Hassan Mwinyi who was accompanied by his wife Siti Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa who was accompanied by his wife Anna Mkapa. Others on the high table were the Zanzibar President Dr. Mohammed Shein and his first Vice President Seif Sharif Ahamad. Also in attendance were the two Chief Justice of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, Othman Chande (Tanzania mainland) and Omar Othman Makungu of Zanzibar, Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda, Speraker of the House of Representatives Pandu Amir Kificho and former Zanzibar President Aman Abeid Karume. Also in attendance were three former Prime Ministers of the United Republic of Tanzania, these were Edward Lowasa who currently is the MP for Monduli,  Fredrick Sumaye and John Samwel Malecela. The current CCM party secretary general Abdulhaman Kinana and the former National speaker Pius Msekwa. Although there were a series of national leaders both retired and current, an anonymous person was heard asking for the where about of the other former national dignitaries who ever served as Presidents of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government.  These he mentioned are Aboud Jumbe who ruled the Island since 1972 when the first President and the architect of union Sheik Abeid Aman Karume died up to 1984, and Salmir Amour who ruled as from 1990 and 2000. Since their retirements the two have never been seen attending such public function.  The celebrations were colored by acts of activities and fan fare and other school children treated thousands of spectators with their grand performances conducted by 2695 students from Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. Among them were 35 children who performed acrobatic games. The children performed various styles that showed various shapes that reflected the current standing situation of the security, health and economy in the country. In these, the youths showed the benefits in all aspects basing in three categories as being useful as the major achievement for the development of the union. The occasion was entertained by some groups of social and cuiltural troupes who included the Nyakitari traditional group from Tarime district in Mara region, Gonga group from Pemba, Makonde traditional group from Lindi and a special chioir that entertained the audience from Masange National Service from Tabora.  Although Tanzania celebrates its 49 years of union, the occasion takes place at a time when the association of Zanzibar Revival group and that one of the association of Zanzibar Muslim organization calls for the constitutional debate and demanded for a referendum so that Zanzibaris and the people in mainland could decide separately whether they could want the union. However, in an reclusive interview with the Guardian the Chairperson of the committee stands for constitution and law in Parliament Dr. Pindi Chana said that, everybody has a right to issue views on the constitution process in any thing regarding union matters. Speaking in an exclusive interview, after the  ceremony, politicians and retired government officials said that the government should give enough time and opportunity to people to debate and openly discuss challenges of the unions. A cross section of the opposition politicians were recently quoted as saying that, the process of writing constitution was the best opportunity for both the government and the people to review weakness and over all union problems for the development of the nation.

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