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Dar briefs partners why it did not sign EA report

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 30, 2011
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    [TD="class: contentheading, width: 100%"]Dar briefs partners why it did not sign EA report [/TD]
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    [TD="class: createdate"] Tuesday, 29 November 2011 22:00 [/TD]

    By Zephania Ubwani
    The Citizen Reporter

    Tanzania made frantic efforts yesterday to consult with its East African Community (EAC) partner states following its refusal to sign a document to be presented to the Heads of State’s Summit today.EAC Cooperation minister Samuel Sitta held informal talks with his counterparts from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda on the matter, which has sparked fresh concern on the future of regional integration.

    His deputy, Mr Abdallah Saadala, told The Citizen last night that Tanzania would like its neighbours to understand why it did not endorse the report of the 24th Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers, which ended on Saturday.

    “Mr Sitta is liaising with other ministers on the matter, and has been briefing them on why the country disagreed with some items contained in the report,” he said and declining to divulge further details. The other four member states endorsed the report and have threatened to go ahead with proposals contained in it whether or not Tanzania agreed with them. Some of the items would be presented to the regional leaders meeting today.

    Mr Saadala was categorical that Tanzania does not want to be on a collision course with its regional partners, saying, “We want them to understand our position on items which we feel will not serve our national interests.”

    Mr Sitta could not be reached yesterday after keeping Tanzanian journalists waiting for hours on Sunday as they sought his comments on the country’s refusal to sign the document at the end of the ministerial talks, which were preceded by meetings of senior officials from the five partner states.

    But Mr Saadala insisted that consultations would continue until the other states fully understood the country’s position on contentious issues, notably on land, the defence protocol and political federation.

    Government officials accompanying Mr Sitta and a host of deputy ministers have declined to speak on the matter, saying the minister was the only person who could given the country’s position on the matter because of its sensitivity.

    However, others confided that there was no way the country could backtrack because matters of land were already clearly spelt out during negotiations on the Common Market Protocol and apparently will not feature in future negotiations on integration.

    Other officials said the country was still looking at mechanisms that would enable it to accommodate the East African Defence Protocol and a similar protocol it had under the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Tanzania is the only EAC state that also belongs to SADC.

    Elsewhere, Tanzania has been criticised after its officials stayed away from the signing of the report, which contained items that were to be presented to the Heads of State Summit for approval.No official explanation had been communicated so far on the apparent boycott, but several officials had previously said the country objected to certain clauses and was still consulting on other items.

    Despite several pleas, the minister and other members of the delegation declined to speak to Tanzanian journalists who are here to cover EAC activities taking place in the Burundian capital.

    The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda, was conspicuously absent from a special session of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) on Monday. The session was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Eala and was attended by Speakers from other partner states and South Sudan.

    Those in attendance included the Speaker of the Zanzibar House of Representatives, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho, who cautioned East Africans that regional integration was a gradual process, adding that there was a need for tolerance among member states. Meanwhile, the upgrading of ports is key to unlocking the economic potentials of Lake Tanganyika and its vast basin, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said on Monday.