Tanzania lone ranger in EAC integration bid
Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich celebrates after he won men’s marathon during the London 2012 Olympic Games . The last time Uganda had won a gold medal at the event was 40 years ago. Photo/AFP AFP
- Tanzania has been in the regional news for their stand against the other East African Community states, especially Kenya. They recently, increased the work permit fees for East Africans arguing that the bloc has not reached the integration level that would support free movement of labour.
- Apart from making it expensive for other East Africans to work in Tanzania, the country has also been accused of reportedly lighting fires on the wildlife migratory corridors to prevent the wildebeest from migrating into Kenya.
- Then there was the bus accident involving Kenyans who were travelling to Tanzania on a religious mission. It was reported that the public at scene of the accident demanded cash in order to help the victims.
Regional news indicates that competition is rising among East African nations.
One of the recent surprises was the Ugandan athlete Stephen Kiprotich who won the country a gold in the Olympics since the last one 40 years ago.
This made the Ugandans so proud sending the whole nation into a celebration. The fact that the athlete has Kenyan roots confirms that apart from suffering brain drain as brilliant Kenyans settle for jobs abroad, the country also suffers from ‘leg drain’ as the best runners choose to work and run for other countries.
The good news here is that this suggests a greater level of integration while providing some food for thought to Kenya on how to keep the best talents home.
Kiprotich’s achievement can also have some dividends in tourism circles across the region. The win was also one of the surprises at the London 2012 Olympic Games, earning a place among the best 10 CNN moments at the event.
For business, the lesson should be that you should always respect for your competition. I overheard some Kenyans suggest that our athletes had been told by their coaches to keep an eye on any Ethiopian on the tracks but to their unpleasant surprise, competition also came from other countries including Uganda.
Another point to note is that Uganda is actually friendlier to Kenya than Tanzania, being landlocked means that they have to depend on the Mombasa port.
They are likely to wish Kenya well since our problems can easily escalate to Uganda. Kenya also played good host to Ugandans during bad times in the past and therefore, that heritage creates some positive energy between the two nations.
However, the relationship has not been smooth all through. For example, the recent Migingo Island dispute created a lot of furore among the citizens of the two countries.
Nevertheless, the two neighbours are working together to resolve the Somalia crisis.
Tanzania has been in the regional news for their stand against the other East African Community states, especially Kenya. They recently, increased the work permit fees for East Africans arguing that the bloc has not reached the integration level that would support free movement of labour.
Rwanda on the other hand, welcomed all East Africans to work there freely. Tanzania is thinking scarcity while Rwanda is thinking abundance, only time will tell which kind of thinking is more productive than the other.
Apart from making it expensive for other East Africans to work in Tanzania, the country has also been accused of reportedly lighting fires on the wildlife migratory corridors to prevent the wildebeest from migrating into Kenya. Creating barriers to prevent one of the greatest animal action scenes in the world from taking place did not work.
The wildebeest eventually crossed the borders to Maasai Mara for what is termed as the eighth wonder of the world to happen. The lesson here is that there is no greater force than that of an idea whose time has come.
Then there was the bus accident involving Kenyans who were travelling to Tanzania on a religious mission. It was reported that the public at scene of the accident demanded cash in order to help the victims.
That is one of the saddest things about the Tanzanians’ perspective. You would expect them to be more hospitable. President Mwai Kibaki had to send military help to airlift the survivors to Kenya for better medical attention.
This brought back some memories from the past when former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere was quoted saying that Kenya is “a man-eat-man society”.
Former Attorney General Charles Njonjo reportedly replied that Tanzania was probably man-eat-nothing society. These ideologies from history are still affecting the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania.
But all is not lost, there is a lot of trade happening between the two countries, which points at a need to have a more cohesive approach.
There is also admiration of Kenya by Tanzanians.
The last time I was in Dar es Salaam, a taxi driver who picked me from the airport rated the developments in Kenya highly, he mentioned the bara bara za gorofa (super highways) that are being built and the new people-driven Constitution. He wished Tanzania could have the same kind of developments.
Time is ripe for the region to have a greater partnership orientation. Let us always remember that you can stand tall without standing on anyone and you can be a victor without having any victim.
Ngahu is the marketing director of SBO Research.
E-mail: [email protected]. Twitter@bngahu
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I do hope he just chose to avoid a scientific explanation as to why the fire was set up in the Serengeti! As for accident in Tanga, Kikuyu arrogance has given him guts to vomit accolades for uplifting their fellow Kikuyu's mothers who were in the hospitals already! Unfortunately, he forgets there are over 200,000 IDPs still in camps 5 years after 2007's PEVs! BTW i am surprised at the way he is blindly claiming Ugandans to be friendlier to Kenya and at the same time speaking for them to be not friendlier to Tanzanians! Watch out ur nepotism mentality...! can do anything just to win a bread!