Wednesday, July 20, 2011
JOHN OKELLO HAKUTAKA Z;BAR IUNGANE NA TANGANYIKA MZEE KARUME ALIKUWA AKIMUOGOPA OKELLO NDIO AKAMFUKUZA Z;BAR
MOST Tanganyikans especially of the present generation do not know exactly the history of the revolution of Zanzibar which took place over four decades ago. They don’t even know how it started and how the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar was formed. This is because after the revolution, the government has not been speaking the truth of the matter and instead it has been hiding the truth to the eyes of many Tanganyika and Zanzibar people. Most of them can tell the First President of Zanzibar the late Sheikh Aman Karume who is regularly mentioned to have taken an active part of the liberation of the people of Zanzibar. But the history tells us that, “President Karume was called to assume the position of presidency after the revolution which was organized and planned by a self-styled Field Marshal John Okello, a Ugandan born national who dedicated his life to save Zanzibaris in those days for what he say to save Zanzibar. He worked effectively by other freedom fighters who were members of Afro-Shirazi party. By then Karume was living in Tanganyika mainland for fear of his life after hear is going to be the revolution in Zanzibar he fear for that couse is wrong doing couse Zanzibar was just get his independence from British rule in October 1963. with the Sultanate government and the ruling party of the Zanzibar government, the ZNP which was led by Prime Minister, Mohammed Shamte.
Despite of this important historic event which brought alot of killing of the z;bar residing in both Pemba and Unguja islands, heroes who took active part in this revolution who call them self heroes seems to have been forgotten in one way or another and are never mentioned at all whenever the nation celebrates the occasion in commemoration to mark this day in the country.
On April 7th each year, the government of zanzibar marks the anniversary of the death of the first President of Zanzibar and first Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania Sheikh Abeid Aman Karume with nostalgic feelings of the man who devoted and sacrificed his life for the liberation of the people of Zanzibar. Just who is this man claimed to have helped change Zanzibar’s course of history and contributed to the birth of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania? The persistent narration of the history of Zanzibar and the revolutionary movement seems to have been driven in a wrong way from its inception, let the government stick to the truth. Zanzibar is and autonomous state which before its union with the then Tanganyika on 26th April 1964 three months after the revolution, attained its legal independence from British rule in October 1963. Within few months later, a nine hour revolution took place that led to the expulsion of the Sultanate government. Field Marshal John Okello is taken as and instrumental figure behind the move who by all means should always be remembered during national celebrations for his courageousness and the effort he showed as a leader of the revolution if z;bar believer the revolution of z;bar was right thing to do. It’s also disturbing to note that, the government seems to have turned a blind eye in support of his movements and campaigns which he made and eventually led to the overthrow of the Omani-Sultanate government on the Island on January 12th 1964. This significant occasion ended centuries of the friendship of people of Zanzibar Arab from Oman who was there for many years and married there and have family and every thing with Zanzibar people and sultanate in Zanzibar. As concerns his background history ‘Okello’ was a Ugandan national from Lira district occupied by Lango ethnic group. He first entered the island of Pemba from Kenya on 21st June 1959 in search of a job just like other people seeking for life in a foreign country. Soon after his short stay he joined the Afro-Shiraz Party, the only party which by then had its majority members composed of mix z;bar and tanganyika who was working in different jobs that they did like. Because of his patriotic outlook, he was elected the secretary of the youth wing for Vitongoji area and later came to be a youth wing leader of the whole Pemba island.
Field Marshal John Okello (seated at the centre) with his commanders in a group photo immediately after the revolution.
He began his campaigns by fighting for the rights of Africans the way he say and during his speeches which were loved by everyone who was from tanganyika who working in z;bar, he had established a vision that revolution was a solution to freedom he forgot he is not z;bar though he realized the difficulties but was confident they could be overcome by intelligence and properly organized local military application. He gave much thought to the political problems of the z;bar residing in Zanzibar and felt strongly for the liberation of the all people of tanganyika and z;bar who was hungry for be in power.
In early 1963, Okello began to organize the local troops to fight against the govement of z;bar in a bid to bring human dignity which for what he say was lost among the majority of the African group residing in both islands. To make his planned mission work, he organized with mainland African policemen in both Pemba and Unguja islands and persuaded them one by one of the correctness of his views. Like many other African Diasporas in Zanzibar, Okello also navigated with the ASP aspirants that appeared to be under Sheik Abeid Karume. The real history about the revolution itself tells us that Mr. Karume wasn’t even aware of the coup despite of the government which keeps on applauding him to have taken active part in overthrowing the Sultanate government. When he became President of Zanzibar, few months after the revolution, he expelled Mr. Okello from the island for unknown reasons. This matter has been remained concealed to the eyes of many Tanganyikans and Zanzibar and none of them actually knows nothing the basic reasons which led to his deportation from Zanzibar.who is behind this dicteitar nyerere.
Sheikh Karume was born in Mwera village a short distance from Zanzibar town in 1905 this what they say some say he come to z;bar with her mother when he was child from Mozambique even today some part of his family is still visiting in Mozambique, so even he is not from z;bar, again another person who is hungry for power and his not from z;bar. His death occurred mysteriously. On April 7, 1972, when a young z;bar who was want for better life in z;bar and tired of is dictator rule so thinking to do new counter-revolutionaries so by mistake did work as planned so some sneaked into the headquarters of the Zanzibar ruling Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) at Kisiwandui in Unguja Urban District. One of them immediately opened fire on a group of top party leaders who were enjoying a game of 'Bao'. Moments later, the body of the ASP President, who was also the President of Zanzibar and Union First Vice-President, laid in a pool of blood, dead. The shooter was immediately shot by President’s security men. Here is question why the didn't catch him why the kill him.? Couse if they did kill him they can ask him who send to kill president of z;bar but they kill him right way why.?.
In January 1964 the Sultanate government was overthrown by an internal revolution. 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 a considerable support from the tanganyika some z;bar who was stupid and hungry for power population. Thousands of Arabs,india,and swahili z;bar people who was happy with they new geverment of 1963 were massacred in riots, and thousands more fled the island. According to the book entitled “Revolution in Zanzibar” that the commander and self-styled Field Marshall John Okello wrote, the people killed during the invasion were about 13,000 but is more than that couse people was killed and put in mass graver.
With the popular support from the littler people from island's and tanganyika oppressed native majority, Okello and his men fought their way to the capital of Zanzibar, Stone Town, where the sultan Sayyid Jamshid Ibn Abdullah lived. Even though they were poorly armed, Okello and his men whom he appointed as Brigadier commandars in-charge during the mutiny surprised the majority of the people in the world and took power of the government.
During a speech when he was introducing himself on the radio monitored in a Kenyan Swahili accent, Okello dubbed himself the "Field Marshal of Zanzibar and Pemba". He gave the sultan an order to kill his family and to kill himself afterwards, otherwise, he (Okello) would do so himself. However, the sultan had already brought himself to safety later to be harboured in Britain. The prime minister Mr. Mohammed Shamte and other ministers also managed to escape and let all remaining z;bari being killed in the massacre, without any of them even thinking how to help them now......
Having taken control of both islands which by then had a population of 300,000 people, Okello created a Revolutionary Council and invited Sheik Abeid Karume back to the island to assume the title of Presidency. Other Zanzibaris in foreign territorry were also invited back, most notably the marxist politician the late Abdulrahman Babu to assume the position of a Prime Minister. Both Karume and Babu had not been informed of the coup as they were residing in Tanganyika the did no nothing about the revolution but after that okello welcome them, where they were welcomed by Okello. However, neither Karume nor Babu wanted anything to do with him. John Okello reserved for himself the title of "Field Marshal", a position with undefined power. What followed was a three month long internal struggle for power.
On his arrival in Zanzibar on a Tanganyikan government plane, Karume was taken to the broadcasting station and Okello introduced him as President of the people’s Republic of Zanzibar. After a brief introduction to the general public, Mr Karume addressed the nation by saying,
“I am pleased and delighted to have this opportunity of speaking to you publicly in our newly freed island. As President of the Republic, I promise to serve you faithfully and to the full extent of your needs. The government we are going to construct will be the opposite of that which we have suffered under before. I am glad to say that under the wise leadership of Field Marshal John Okello we have reached a goal which we alone could not achieve. I appeal to you all to serve the new regime faithfully and honestly. I must express my thanks” Karume went on, “to the freedom fighters through whose efforts I have become President, and to Field Marshal Okello, whose fruitful leadership was accepted by you. My being President now, is due entirely to your strength and energy, you have struggled and suffered and died, but you have achieved a remarkable victory. I want all of us to work in unity and to obey Field Marshal Okello as any other person born on this Island without any form of discrimnation. Without his wisdom and courage, none of us would be where we are at the present. Fiel Marshal Okello’s activities clearly shows that he is a man born with African liberation in his heart, and we of this Island are actually to have had him achieve our freedom so quickly”. THAT WAS END OF HIS SPEECH.
Within a month of his rule after being announced as President of Zanzibar, Karume used his political skills to align the leaders of neighboring African countries against Okello, and invited Tanganyikan police officers into Zanzibar to maintain order.
As soon as Okello took a trip out of the country, Karume declared him an enemy of the state and did not allow him to return back in Zanzibar, he was also deported from Tanganyika. Given the presence of Tanganyikan police and the absence of their leader, Okello's gangs of followers did not offer any resistance. Okello then stayed in Kenya, in Congo-Kinshasa and in Uganda. He was incarcerated multiple times and was last seen with the former Ugandan President, dictator Iddi Amin in 1971 and vanished afterwards. It is more or less assumed that Idi Amin saw him as a threat (after Amin promoted himself, Okello reportedly joked that "now Uganda has two field marshals") and had arranged his assassination. This remains speculative, however.
Karume's second stroke of political genius came when he agreed to form a union with Tanganyikan president Julius Nyerere in April 1964. The union which was agreed by these two leaders ensured that the new country, to be called Tanzania would not align itself with the Soviet Union and communist bloc, as Abdulrahman Babu had advocated. Karume's government marginalized Babu to the point of irrelevance. The Marxist leader was eventually forced to flee Tanzania after being charged with masterminding the assassination of Karume on 7th April 1972. During his reign as a President before his death, Karume was often criticized for the atrocities that were carried out against Zanzibari Arabs and Asians after the revolution, and later against anyone he suspected of endangering his position. It is hard to ascertain the role Karume played personally, but the numbers are bleak. The American diplomat to Zanzibar, Mr. Donald Petterson, estimated that “by the end of summer of 1965, Zanzibar's pre-revolution Arab population of 50,000 had been halved".
Why Tanzania is hiding the truth about Zanzibar Revolution, and deported a foreign hero who participated in this revolt?
Tracing back from the reality why Tanzania is hiding the truth about the Zanzibar Revolution, one might say it’s because of political reasons which were planned in favour of the few indigenous groups of people who wanted to disrupt a chain of power whose prospects had been foreseen would become intolerable in the eyes of the majority. But Field marshal John Okello had revealed this in his book entitled Revolution in Zanzibar which he wrote few months after the revolution. The publication and sale of the book was banned by the government few months later after its release. According to him, he had realized there was a close relationship between Karume and President Nyerere. They had some kind of plan, but there was nothing he could do about it. With the same anticipation that had allowed him to know in advance many things that would happen to him. He also knew that he would suffer from the hands of Africans although he had done good to them. But it was not his intention to harm anyone without a good cause and he preferred to leave his new opponents to carry out their wishes as it might please them
In the book Okello is quoted as saying that, “ I understand African thinking and I understand that what I did in Zanzibar, had it been done in any other country for the sake of Africans, I would still have been judged wrong and borne blame. But I acted alone during the revolution and had to remain alone afterwards. If anyone can claim he was with me during the planning and thinking through of the Revolution, let him come forward and explain it” Okello then went on by saying that “ Only God almighty knows what went on in Zanzibar. If anyone claims to have trained me or taught me to act as I did, let him come forward and describe it. I had been an ordinary worker in Zanzibar and went originally to work. A man of class and limited education certainly could not have gone abroad easily and why should I have known by or been acceptable to, and nothing proves this more than the wild claims made about me after the revolution and yet no one knew anything about me at all. I was reported to be a jaluo man from Kenya and a former member of Zanzibar police, yet a check of records in Zanzibar would not reveal my name on any police employment rolls, other people claimed they had seen me in Cuba and in Cairo and in some socialist countries. But there has been any evidence to refute any claims that I have never been outside East Africa to assert that I was an agent of some power, is foolish. How would anyone known I could manage revolution? And why did no one know me after the revolution?
God alone knows and still knows what is happening with me. He is my teacher and whatever he taught me about revolutionary activities is within me and no one on earth can discern it. My power in regard to the revolution was as a messenger of God, and God alone helped to master and eradicate the imperialists on the Island.
On 24th January 1964, Okello received an unsigned written letter in Swahili as quoted in his book as follows:- “Field Marshal John Okello, your behaviors is inconsistent with the requirement of the indigenous people. You are the only person boasting of having the power in the revolutionary government. You must realize that, you do not belong to the Muslim religion and you are leading Muslims even though you are a Christian. Also your activities led to the death of many people in the Island most of whom are Muslims. So start counting your days for a time will come when Muslims will unite to expel you from the Island” The letter did not upset him as he suspected to have come from ZNP . On 8th February 1964, he received another letter stating “Field Marshal John Okello we are telling you that, you will not last for ever on this Island. You will soon find yourself outside and unable to return. Remember Karume himself is a Muslim and you may be certain he loved the Arabs killed during the Revolution more than he loves you”.
Okello and Karume brought on the table of discussion:
Within two months’ time after the revolution, Field Marshal Okello and President Karume flew in a three seater airplane to Dar es Salaam from Zanzibar whereby they were oddly met by President Nyerere. The two held a strong meeting chaired by Nyerere, others who were present was the Prime Minister Rashid Mfaume Kawawa and TANU secretary General and Minister for External Affairs, Mr. Oscar Kambona. According to quotes in Okello’s book, the meeting was opened by President Nyerere who began by saying that John Okello “I understand there have been misunderstanding between you and President Karume in the Island and we are here to make some arrangement with you. I would like to know whether the present government belongs to you or Karume? I replied “The government of Zanzibar is neither mine nor Karume’s but it is the government of the people of Zanzibar. When we fought we promised the people they would get their own government. We actually fought for freedom and that is what the people now have. We are the provisional leaders but there will be leaders tomorrow. We work for the people and they control us. Even here you are called President and head of the government of Tanganyika, but you know that the government is not yours, but rather it’s the government of the people including yourself.
President Nyerere went on to ask me what I thought of Karume and why I used the broadcasting station to make fierce and boastful speeches more than was necessary. “I respect President Karume highly” I said, “First as an elder, second as my President, thirdly as a personal friend, and fourthly as a brother”. I went on, “you know very well that our government was snatched by force and not by election as such, the radio is the easiest available means to communicate with the people and indeed to inform the world at large of the decisions of the revolutionary government. The quickest way to inform the people of what their new government is doing is to use radio”. President Nyerere then turned to Karume and asked, “Do you understand what Okello has been saying? Karume replied, Yes I understand it clearly, I too, like Okello and I can trust him, but I do not understand why he dislikes my association with Abdrahaman Babu. And yet when Babu was expelled, it’s I who introduced him to other East African leaders, and after the revolution it was Mr. Okello himself who called him back and gave him a ministerial portfolio” President Nyerere said he was satisfied with what I had said at the meeting, but he was concerned with some of my radio speeches.
“I realized after this meeting, that a serious fight for power was going on and someone wanted to emerge on top. It looked to me as if President Nyerere felt that as long as I was on the Island, he could not join it with Tanganyika, he feared I would want to join with Kenya. Indeed I was very much in agreement with a Kenyan President Kenyatta’s plans and ideas. Kenyatta was straightforward and spoke openly. If I joined Zanzibar with any single East African nation, I would have preferred Kenya to Tanganyika” Okello remarked in his book.
Dispossessed but not defeated:
Other quotes from Okello’s book can be read as follows:- I have had several lessons, then in African psychology and I believe that a good thing done by an African for his brothers in need may in future be turned against him. Yet there are few people on earth who will help others at their own risk. It is wrong that when you have cultivated a farm for your brothers and the fruits are ready, they deny you a share. God himself must have cursed such behaviors It is also unwise to say a pot which helped you to cook should be broken to pieces when you have eaten from it and are satisfied, for you do not know what may happen the next day, and if you are hungry a pot broken in contentment will not serve you in the need. The old fishermen with whom I spoke when crossing from Pemba to Unguja in 1963 and many of my soldiers and officers, will recall my predictions about their behavious towards me. I did as I said I would lead them to freedom and they did as I said they would expel me from their land like tailless dog. As a child, I was dispossessed of everything, yet this did not defeat me, as a leader of the Zanzibar Revolution.