Ballali not a US citizen, says envoy THE CITIZEN By Sakina Zainul Datoo THE CITIZEN Former Bank of Tanzania (BoT) governor Daudi Ballali is not a US citizen, the American ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Mark Green, said yesterday. He told editors at a roundtable discussion at the American embassy in Dar es Salaam that Dr Ballali was breaking the law if he was still in the US. Mr Green said the US government had not taken any step towards deporting Dr Ballali to Tanzania because the Tanzanian government had not requested for his extradition. The envoy was, however, not categorical on whether Dr Ballali was still in the US. "We track down people who enter the country, but we do not have records of people leaving the country. So we do not know if he is still there or not," he said. Challenged to explain how the American government could revoke someone's visa without bothering to kick them out, Mr Green said they could not go knocking on every door looking for illegal immigrants. However, Dr Ballali would be denied entry if he applied for another visa or tried to enter the US, he said. There were reports that what the US revoked was Dr Ballali's diplomatic visa issued to him by virtue of his being the BoT governor, and that the former central bank chief still holds the Green Card, which makes him a permanent resident in the US. But Mr Green was emphatic that Dr Ballali was not a US citizen. "A citizen of the United States of America is not required to apply for a permit to enter the country. Balali is not an American citizen," he said. The roundtable discussion was hosted by the American envoy to discuss President George W. Bush's visit to Tanzania next month. Mr Green said there were three reasons behind President Bush's visit to Tanzania, including close relations between the two countries. The visit is also a result of the increasing monetary support the American government has been extending to Tanzania. The US is Tanzania's largest donor, having pledged $662 million this year. The US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) "is the largest commitment in history by any nation for an international health initiative dedicated to combating a single disease". By the end of this year, the US will have provided $818.4 million to Tanzania to combat HIV/Aids. President Bush has also supported malaria eradication in Zanzibar, while the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) will provide $698 million for investment in roads, water and power. Since these are all projects under the US Presidency, and since Tanzania has been benefiting largely from these projects, President Bush would like to see firsthand where his efforts had been directed, Mr Green said. He added that another reason was President Bush's belief in Tanzania's future "as this is a country on the rise". Asked if the visit was secretly meant to lobby the Tanzanian government into allowing the US to establish a military base in the country, Mr Green dismissed such suggestions as "absurd". He was reminded that some people in Tanzania were opposed to President Bush's visit because of what they see as America's aggressive foreign policy, particularly its involvement in Iraq, and support for Israel, which is accused of oppressing Palestinians. But Mr Green said Tanzanians should think of the amount of aid they were receiving from the US, which he added, also gave a lot of aid to Palestinians. Ambassador Green said President Bush's visit offered Tanzania a unique opportunity to promote itself and show the world what the country was all about. "Since such visits attract world attention�it is an opportunity to promote tourism and investments for Tanzania," he said. The exact date of President Bush's visit, the length of the trip and his schedule have been kept under wraps for security reasons, but Mr Green said the president would spend "substantial time" in the country and "move around as much as possible". He said he hoped the visit would not bring the country to a standstill due to excessive security concerns.