BRIEF COMMENTS ON RECENT EAST AFRICAN EVENTS
by George M. Houser, American Committee on Africa
New York, New York, United States
February 5, 1964
American Committee on Africa
The statement says events of the last two weeks have attracted world attention to East Africa; a coup has taken place in Zanzibar, and disturbing military mutinies or the threat of them have taken place in Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika; voice has been given to popular impressions that the Zanzibar coup was masterminded by the Communists and that the military revolts are something like a recreation of events in the Congo; although it is much too soon after these occurrences to make anything like a thorough analysis, nevertheless it might be worthwhile to make a few comments. The statement says the dynamics which led to the overthrow of the Zanzibar Government which had been independent for on 34 days, is not found by looking to international communism; rather it is found in the centuries-old antagonisms between the African and Arab populations of Zanzibar; of the some 300,000 people living on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, approximately 45,000 are Arab, 18,000 Asian, and most of the rest African; the Arab invasion of Zanzibar took place as long ago as the 7th Century; with the exception of to centuries of domination by the Portuguese after 1498, the Arabs were in control of the island until modern times; the slave trade flourished in Zanzibar; the Sultan of Muscat moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1832 to be able to supervise and more readily profit from the slave trade; the period of the British protectorate began in 1890 in an agreement with the Sultan. The statement says the Zanzibar Nationalist Party, founded in 1955, and the Afro-Shirazi Party, established in 1957, have been the major contending political organizations. The statement says although the military revolts in Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya are signs of instability, they are not analogous to what happened in the Congo; the three leaders of each of the three East African countries has overwhelming support; there is not rival to President Nyerere nor his Tanganyika African National Union; although there was opposition to Kenyatta's Kenya African National Union, the recent elections reflect massive support for his leadership, and the same is true of the Uganda Peoples Congress and its leader, Prime Minister Milton Obote. The statement discusses the Legislative Council, elections, the popular vote, Communist China, the Committee on Colonization at the United Nations, Abeid Amani Karume, Colin Legum, John Okello, Cuba, Abdulla Kassim Hanga, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Raman Mohammed Babu, the Umma Party, and the New China News Agency. • The Zanzibar Coup • The Military Revolts [Note: the correct spelling of the name may be Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu.]
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: Africa Action Archive