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Proposed EAC land reforms:No way, Tanzania continues to insist

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by JuaKali, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. JuaKali

    JuaKali JF-Expert Member

    Dec 4, 2008
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
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    TANZANIA has reiterated that the proposed land reforms being vigorously pursued by Kenyan politicians that seek to allow foreign citizens to own vast tracts of land within the country are totally out of the question.

    The Deputy Minister for East African Co-operation, Mohammed Aboud, told reporters in the Ugandan capital Kampala that Tanzania is not ready to adopt the controversial issue of cross-border private land ownership within the region.

    In a joint press briefing with the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Abdirahin Abdi, Aboud insisted that there was no way Tanzania will bow to ongoing pressure from within the East African Community (EAC) to approve the proposal.

    He also said Tanzania is not ready to adopt the East African passport as an identification document for people seeking to move from one EAC country to another and settle there.

    The EALA started its two-week session in Kampala on Tuesday.

    Latest media reports from Kampala, quoted Aboud as saying: ’’In Tanzania, land is public and we are okay with that. We also feel that our own (Tanzanian) passport should remain as a national identity document. Why shouldn?t these other (EAC) countries adopt our land laws?’’

    Land in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi is largely privately-owned, but in Tanzania land ownership is entirely the prerogative of the state.

    Said Aboud: ’’In Kenya, only 10 per cent of land is actually owned privately. In Uganda, you also have problems with the Kabaka...why not adopt our land ownership system?’’

    He said Tanzania wants to maintain its own passport as a national ID for fear of foreign criminals entering the country.

    ’’We have such experience. We therefore have to consider such security issues,’’ the deputy minister was quoted as stating.

    EAC member states plan to introduce one passport for citizens of all five member states - Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi.

    Kenyan and Ugandan politicians have been accusing Tanzania of being ’’slow and hesitant’’ to support reforms for regional integration, claiming that the situation is likely to drag the 2012 planned political federation.

    EALA Speaker Abdi said a technical team composed of members from partner states would meet in Rwanda next month ’’to discuss the variance position of Tanzania on the (EAC) Common Market.’’

    Kenya’s EAC Minister, Jeffah Kingi, recently accused Tanzania outright of frustrating efforts towards the integration of the five member countries into one regional bloc.

    Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, Kingi said Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi were all feeling frustrated by Tanzania towards the integration agenda.

    He accused Tanzania of being a stumbling bloc to integration, citing the recent 19th extraordinary council of ministers meeting held on November 11-12 in Zanzibar where Tanzania rejected several recommendations and stated that it wanted to ’’go slow’’ on the integration process.

    But in reaction to the Kenyan minister’s comments, deputy minister Aboud told THISDAY in an interview at the time that Tanzania remains fully committed to the process, but only wants the transition to be gradual.

    After the Zanzibar meeting, the Minister for East African Cooperation, Dr Diodorus Kamala, announced that outstanding issues on land ownership, free movement, and permanent residence had been put on hold until March next year to provide room for further discussions and consultations.

    Kamala was quoted by some local media outlets as saying proposals for allowing East African residents to acquire land in other countries of the region were not in the interests of Tanzanians.

    ’’Land is a very sensitive and intractable issue?we quite explicitly believe it shouldn’t be part of the ongoing discussions on the Common Market protocol,’’ the minister was quoted as saying.