Various speakers extolled the founder’s legacy as vibrant 49 years after his death in a hail of gunfire at the ruling party’s Kisiwandui offices, where the ceremony was held.
Karume who led Zanzibar in the wake of the January 12, 1964 revolution was assassinated on April 7, 1972 , with his rule marked by ground breaking initiatives comparable to the fifth phase Union president, the late Dr John Magufuli.
In the wake of the union with Tanganyika three months or so later to keep at bay adversaries of the revolution, Karume served as Union First Vice President, but Zanzibar remained inward looking vis a vis the Union government.
President Karume’s whole focus was to implement a number of development projects aimed at improving the living standards of Zanzibaris especially in housing, where nearly 50 years later these projects remain the flag bearer hallmarks of the Zanzibar Revolution.
Speaking at the service, Zanzibar Mufti Sheikh Saleh Kabi said Karume was on record vowing that he would not go to Hajj in Mecca as other capable Muslims do, until all Zanzibaris get decent housing.
“He kept his word and embarked on an affordable housing project in Unguja and Pemba islands for both urban and rural areas,” he elaborated.
The cleric went on to describe the late Karume as a leader who—judging by his deeds—had the best interest of the people at heart and served Zanzibaris diligently.
The multiple storey residential structures at Michenzani area are among landmarks in Zanzibar history, with similar structures also found in Pemba.
Sheikh Shaaban Batwashi from the islands’ council of clerics remembered Karume as a leader who died on the job while trying hard to unite the people of Zanzibar.
“As we pray for him, let’s also emulate his good deeds and projects that live on to date,” he said.
Sheikh Khalid Mfaume, the secretary to the Mufti who led the prayer service, described Karume as a person who strived to achieve equality among sections of the Zanzibar community and left behind tangible things in his legacy.
Family spokesman Ambassador Ali Karume—second son of the late Karume thanked the two governments of Zanzibar and the Union for holding the annual event in the memory of his father.
Earlier, President Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi led attendees in laying a wreath on Karume’s grave at Kisiwandui, followed by President Samia and Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
The January 1964 revolution overthrew Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah, who fled to Britain and lived there until September last year, whereupon he returned to his native Oman, without the threat of sowing loyalty divisions in the centuries-old monarchy.
Reports say there were celebrations in Oman following the ascendancy of President Samia, as part of her extended family lives in the town of Al Mudhaibi, with social media commentators hailing this link as showing the deep cultural ties between Oman and Tanzania.