Tuesday, November 8, 2016

How Tanzania and Kenya maintains their relations

ONCE upon a time during the colonial era, both Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika Territory and Kenya, designated as Protectorate and Colony, the people in both East African countries, fed up with years of foreign domination, waged separate struggles for independence. Although both went their own ways in the struggle against British colonialism, they shared a common goal inspired by the Pan African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA). The independence struggle in Tanganyika, led by one of the country’s early intellectuals, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who in 1954 had formed the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), won the day in 1961 as the country became the first in East and Central Africa to celebrate ‘Uhuru’.In neighbouring Kenya, a struggle for independence was then underway, taking on bloody proportions as the so-called Mau Mau movement waged an all-out war against British colonialism under cover of the dense Mount Kenya Forest. Several Kenyan liberation fighters, led by a charismatic nationalist, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, were rounded up and charged with leading the Mau Mau movement in the infamous Kapenguria Trial. We take note and cherish the famous statement by Mwalimu Nyerere in the late 1950s - that he was prepared to delay the independence of Tanganyika if that would have expedited the freedom of Kenya and Uganda. That is why even after Tanganyika celebrated ‘Uhuru’ on December 9, 1961, the country’s leaders began crusading for the independence of other East African countries. We supported their struggle. Uganda followed with their independence in 1962 as Kenya became the last country in East Africa to gain her independence in 1963. Later day post-Uhuru period for both Kenya and Tanzania as the latter became known following the Union with Zanzibar in 1964, was not exactly a bed of roses due to selfish machinations by a number of powerful individuals on the other side of the border in a fray of unfortunate happenings that are better forgotten than remembered. It is, therefore, gratifying to note the restoration in recent years of the cordial relations between Tanzania and her northern neighbour. Hopefully, President John Magufuli and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the former only two years old and the latter a few months’ old at the time of our independence in 1961, will continue to forge closer links for the benefit of their people. We say ‘Harambee’ and ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’.

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