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Tanzania rejects use of IDs as travel documents in EAC

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 18, 2008
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    Tanzania rejects use of IDs as travel documents in EAC
    By Zephania Ubwani, Arusha

    Tanzania has opposed the use of national identity cards as a travel document within the East African Community member states as suggested by Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

    Tanzania has once again rejected land and right of residence matters for inclusion in the proposed EAC Common Market protocol.

    Land, right of residence and free movement of people within EA were among key matters discussed at the just-concluded fifth round of the Common Market talks in Zanzibar by senior officials from the five countries.

    According to a statement issued by EAC secretariat on Sunday, Tanzania differed with the other four members in the regional bloc, insisting that land should not be part of the envisaged Common Market protocol.

    "For security reasons, given the size of the country,, and porous borders, Tanzania cannot accept identity card as a travel documents," the statement quoted Tanzanian officials as saying.

    The four countries have argued that since the process of acquiring national passports was �cumbersome� and �not easily accessible to the majority of people,� national IDs should be used to travel within EA.

    But Tanzanian officials argued that it would be improper to elevate national IDs to travel document within the region because already there was the East Africa passport and national passports.

    Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwandan officials had pressed on the use of IDs on grounds that they would ease the movement of cross-border communities. Tanzania has no national IDs.

    The local people on the border areas, they argued, had hitherto been using temporary permits to cross the borders.

    The four countries further argued that elevating IDs to travel documents could alleviate cheating by local travellers and add to other travel documents in use currently in the region including the EA passport.

    But Tanzanian officials stuck to their guns, saying; �IDs are used for identification of nationals, but are not internationally recognised as standard travel documents.�

    Another contentious issued during the two-week negotiations in Zanzibar was land for which Tanzanian officials once again insisted that it should not be part of the Common Market.

    Tanzania has in recent months maintained that foreigners who would accessed land would be those considered as serious investors and that the matter was adequately covered under the country's investment rules.

    Analysts in the region say Tanzania considers land as a sensitive matter because most of civil conflicts in the EA region were connected with the unequal distribution of land.

    However, the statement said during the high level task force further consultations on the issue were underway and that the country's position would be spelt out during the subsequent meetings.