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Samwel Sitta - Tumemsomesha Zanzibar........

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Falconer, Apr 23, 2011.

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    Falconer JF-Expert Member

    Apr 23, 2011
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    22nd April 11
    Why Tanzanians fear EAC federation
    Felister Peter
    As more countries show interest in joining the East African Community (EAC), the Minister for East African Cooperation, Samwel Sitta yesterday said that many Tanzanians fear losing their national identity in political integration.
    Speaking after launching the Tanzania National Chapter of EAC Vision Group in Dar es Salaam, Sitta said some people are worried that what has been happening between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar might also happen in the community.
    “Tanzanians fear losing their national identities. Others worry that the current confusion between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar may persist once the integration is realised”, he said.
    Sitta named the four countries which have expressed interests to join the EAC bloc as Ethiopia, Somalia, Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    He said Southern Sudan is expected to officially join the community on July 1st, this year and that only its official request is awaited.
    According to the Minister, other concerns is the increasing competition for jobs, land grabbing and economic panic, whereby all the countries will have to agree on inflation rates, financial policies and have similar budget plans.
    He however called for transparent and enhanced participation of youth and civil organisations in discussions of EAC matters. He said many people are not aware of what was going on in the government and the community.
    Sitta said there was no need of too much confidentiality in EAC issues since the government is deciding on people’s interest.
    “You can’t decide on behalf of the people and deny them access to such information. Most of the citizens are ignorant of the issues in the Union. They only hear about them through the media”, he said.
    He said people’s fears arise from the lack of information. He said the inclusion of youths in discussions is crucial since they are the ones who will benefit from the integration.
    “One of my top agendas is to enhance youth participations in EAC matters. The Community is for the youth”, he stressed.
    He said good governance and democracy are synonymous with economic growth and development. Countries that pursue good governance and democracy are likely to achieve higher economic growth than totalitarian regimes.
    “Good governance and democracy are only relevant if they spring from the people and become embedded in their minds and vision…..democracy can neither be exported or imported like a commodity”, said the Minister.
    He applauded the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung for supporting the formation of the EAC vision group which is envisaged to be regional platform and source of ideas on the appropriate approaches on regional integration.
    Meanwhile, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung Resident Director, Dr Stefan Chrobot said their aim was to create a group of people who will come up with concrete ideas on how to improve integration.
    He said the group comprised academicians, youths and representatives from civil society organizations.
    One of the participants, Maswe Nestory from the Tanzania Association of NGOs (TANGO) blamed the government for poor information flow. He said that most of the useful information is kept secret.
    “The government should put in place proper mechanism to involve people and civil organisations at every stage”, he said.
    Gwakisa Makaranga from the East African Community Youth Organisation decried poor communication between the responsible ministry and civil organisations. He called on the government to ensure that Tanzanians are well represented in EAC meetings.
    In their just ended summit in Dar es Salaam, East African Community Heads of State directed a team of experts working on political federation to come up with recommendations on ways to address public fears over political federation.
    In a joint communiqué read by the outgoing EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, the leaders said that the experts’ report presented to them was short of such recommendations.
    They urged the experts to complete and present the report during the next EAC Heads of State summit to be held in Bujumbura, Burundi in September this year.