Published on Friday, May 25 2012 03:06 Written by MASEMBE TAMBWE East African Cooperation Minister Samuel Sitta has insisted that land remained a sovereign matter and cautioned against ongoing attempts to drag it into the regional economic grouping arrangement. He told an induction seminar for the newly-elected Tanzania members of the East African Legislative Assembly in Dar es Salaam yesterday that land was one fo the mostly highly targeted issues. He urged the legislators to stand firm in guarding the national interests of their respective countries. There are all sorts of dirty tricks being applied in order to drag the land issue into the East African cooperation treaty, Mr Sitta Observed. He told the legislators that it was one of their duties to ensure that land remained an individual member state matter. Tanzania, the largest EAC country in terms of size and population, boasts of 52 per cent of the total EAC land over. Mr. Sitta said that of this year, statistically, one square kilometer is covered by 47 people in Tanzania, 70 people in Kenya, 139 people in Uganda, 301 people in Burundi and 403 people in Rwanda. The Minister further said that it was imperative that new MPs know exactly what the interests of the nation were. He advised them to draw a careful line between the interests of regional cooperation and those of their country. Mr Sitta highlighted some of the national interests as being the modernizing of the agricultural and processing sector, industries, using the geographical advantage of bordering all four member states, supplier of energy and quality tourism. Let me paint a small scenario: We are selling maize to Kenya and they process it into flour wich is packed in sacks and exported to South Sudan. What is needed is flour mills constructed in the growing areas and for us to export flour. I am calling on the private sector to help out here, he said. Meanwhile, the Speaker of National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda, who opened the seminar, said experience showed that there was a serious lack of communication between MPs and EALA members. She added that the seminar aimed at changing that. She told the seminar that her office had seen the missing link and that it was for this reason that plans were underway to establish an EALA office within the precincts of the Parliament Building in Dodoma. The EALA has existed for over 10 years and as the Kiswahili saying goes, when you fall, you dont go looking where you fell from but where you go injured. We have seen the gaps and are working on them. She quipped. On their part, the EALA members, through their chairman , Mr Adam Kimbisa, expressed their gratitude to the organizers of the seminar, which they hailed as very helpful in enlightening them on their responsibilities.