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Dar won’t give land to outsiders

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Dar won't give land to outsiders


    Posted Sunday, October 12 2008 at 11:40

    The East African Community partner states have for the third time suspended discussion on land matters in the ongoing Common Market Protocol negotiations after Tanzania expressed reservations, saying it was too early for the country to fully open its land to other East Africans.

    Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya have reached a consensus that residents in one of the partner states can settle in another East African country and enjoy more or less equal status with residents.

    But Tanzania, known for stringent immigration and land policies, even though it has the largest land mass of the five-EAC member states, has maintained the position it adopted at the last two regional meetings on the Common Market.

    At both the Nairobi and Bujumbura meetings, held in August and September respectively, Tanzania rejected equal co-existence with other East Africans on its land after the approval of the protocol, whose negotiations wind up at the end of December in accordance with the Summit directive.

    Just a day after the negotiations kicked off in Kampala on October 6, technocrats from the five members had realised there would not be much progress without Tanzania's co-operation on the matter.

    "Instead of wasting time negotiating land issues, we decided to embark on transportation concerns," Uganda's chief negotiator told The East African.

    According to the schedule, the first subject on the negotiating table was Tanzania's reluctance to soften its stance on land.

    "We have bracketed the land issues," Edith Kateme said. "Issues not agreed upon by partner states are being bracketed and will be discussed in the next meeting in Zanzibar in November."
    Usage of the words "acquire" and "access" for purposes of enabling a national of one partner state to use land and buildings on the territory of another partner state, according to Ms Kateme, sparked off further disagreement.

    She said Burundi wanted "access" whereas Rwanda insisted on "acquire." Kenya and Uganda opted for "may access." The Tanzanian negotiators decline to speak to The EastAfrican.

    Tanzania's land tenure system has undergone several changes since colonial times, the most profound of which included the declaration that all land is to be publicly owned by the head of state in trust for the whole nation with different legal regimes applying to rural and urban areas.

    "In Tanzania, you must have big investments to acquire land. We hope our superiors can solve those issues during the Zanzibar meeting. Kenya has no problem when it comes to right of residence although Tanzania has expelled many Kenyans due to lack of work permits," said Barack Ndegwa, a director in the Kenyan Ministry of EAC Affairs.

    However, the Ugandan negotiator defended Tanzania, which is also host to the EAC Secretariat, saying it was not rigid in the ongoing common market negotiation talks.

    At the last meeting of the High Level Task Force in Nairobi from August 16-23, Tanzania rejected a suggestion that partner states' identification cards also double as travel documents within the region.

    Prudence Sebahizi, Rwanda's chief negotiator during the Kampala meeting told The East African that their main concerns were free movement of persons using national identity cards, right of residence and free movement of services.

    "We want permanent residence to be granted to those who have lived in another partner state that isn't their country.

    We are looking at those who have lived there for 5-10 years," he said.

    But Ms Kateme, who admitted that Tanzania had opposed the recommendation, said: "We are trying to find a document that is agreeable to all partner states."

    Reported by Charles Kazooba and Eva Mashoo