Hard questions for Tanzania as Kenya burns http://politics.nationmedia.com/Blog/default.asp?Display=177 By ADAM LUSEKELO Editor Posted On: 02/02/2008 19:47:06 Comments: 0 Tanzanians have been watching with increasing apprehension the violence in their northern neighbour Kenya following the disputed December elections. Although the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mr Bernard Member has said that Dar is not taking sides in the conflict, most people here are. They agree that the elections were stolen by Mwai Kibaki's Government. Could it happen in Tanzania? Most people think that this is far fetched. Many think the Kenyan violence stems from tribalism which is almost non existent in Tanzania. While power and commerce has evolved around the Kikuyu and to a certain extent their archrivals, Luos, the ethnic arrangement is different in Tanzania. The major power blocks in Tanzania – the Haya, the Chagga, the Sukuma and the Nyakyusa have subtly been kept very far from State House. While they wield influence in government and to an certain extent in commerce, those four ethnic groups have been watching each other warily. It must have been a historical accident to have the first president Julius Nyerere coming from a tiny ethnic group, the Wazamaki. The second president, Ali Hassan Mwinyi also came from the Wazaramo, another tiny group around Dar es Salaam. Ex-president Ben Mkapa, comes from the Machinga in the south. And the sitting President Jakaya Kikwete comes from 60 kilometres west of Dar es Salaam. While they are slowly trying to absorb the idea of a maximum two term presidency, Tanzanians cannot understand ethnic strife in Kenya. "I cannot understand this Mzee Mwai Kibaki. I hear the man is a multi-millionaire. So he is not hungry. He has been a president already. Now why would he force himself into the presidency again? How can you rule with all that blood?" said an observer in Dar es Salaam. But Tanzanians feel helplessly impotent to try to help their neighbours restore peace. President Kikwete has urged the warring sides in Kenya's political turmoil to lay down their arms and get busy at the negotiating table. This comes after a second Orange Democratic Party lawmaker was gunned down on Thursday. Kikwete said in his monthly television and radio national address to Tanzanians last night that it was time for President Kibaki's Party for National Union (PNU) and the ODM to give peace a chance. "Machetes, sticks and even guns should not be given a chance. This will never resolve anything," he said, pledging to continue talking to both sides in Kenya's political impasse. "We will not tire and we will not stop talking to both sides involved in the conflict to stop the fighting and reach a consensus through dialogue," he said.