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Towards East African Federation. Are we gonna reach there?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by dannny, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. d

    dannny Member

    Dec 13, 2011
    Joined: Nov 16, 2011
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    [TD="width: 55%, align: left"]EAC FEDERATION: KENYA'S WARIGI VS TANZANIA'S M
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    Follow this interesting dialogue. ​
    Tanzania is proving to be a liability in EA integration
    By GITAU WARIGI Posted Saturday, November 29 2008 at 15:12

    It is time members of the East African Community called Tanzania’s bluff. Our southern neighbour has become a veritable impediment to integration and progress in the region.

    Everytime a useful proposal is put forward, it throws a spanner in the works. Kenya, Uganda and the two candidate-members of the Community, Rwanda and Burundi, should simply shrug Tanzania off and forge ahead.

    The latest Tanzanian objection is the proposal to allow the use of identity cards when crossing borders instead of the requirement for passports, which relatively few ordinary East Africans have anyway.

    The effect of the Tanzanian veto is to limit the movement of people about, who in most cases are traders going back and forth. It is difficult to see the logic of Dar es Salaam’s objection.

    At this rate, the dream of federation by 2013 will remain dead as long as Tanzania is allowed to dictate terms.

    Tanzania has for many years been consumed by a large deceit of thinking it is more important than it actually is.

    Basically, it still lives in a time warp where it is forever harping on its old credentials of being a linchpin of the liberation struggles of southern Africa.

    WITHOUT DOUBT THIS WAS A historically important role. But the world of today is being shaped not by re-living the progressive glories of the 60s but by learning to adapt to fast-changing economic trends of today.

    Tanzania is dirt poor, its economy a fraction of Kenya’s.

    Further, it lacks the dynamism and skills to drive its economy forward at the pace of its neighbours.

    Even tiny Rwanda has a better capacity than can be said of Tanzania.

    The latter’s prickly sense of wanting to be alone is sadly misguided. Regional prosperity depends on the exchange of skills that free movement of peoples and investment across borders allows.

    It is myopic to think Kenyans who venture into Tanzania are only going to take away Tanzanian jobs and opportunities.

    They are bringing skills, money and enterprise which they cross-pollinate in Tanzania.

    It is also wrong to fear that Kenya’s more developed economy is a threat to Tanzania’s and thus should be kept at bay.

    That argument flies in the face of all known precedents. Mexico knows the immense benefits it reaps from the North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA) even though its economy can nowhere be compared with the United States’ or Canada’s.

    Likewise countries like Slovakia or Croatia would not have been clamouring to join the European Union to be in the company of more advanced members like France and Germany.

    But the cost-benefit ratio in such situations favours the poorer members.

    Of the leaders of the East Africa Community, President Yoweri Museveni is by far the most far-sighted on this question of integration,

    He is surely right in urging those countries for the idea to go ahead on their own and cast off the laggards.

    One country cannot and should not be allowed to hold the process of integration hostage.

    Another leader who is emerging as a real visionary is Rwanda’s President, Mr Paul Kagame.

    He has already okayed the abolition of work permits for Kenyan professionals going to work there. Kenya too, has agreed on a similar waiver for Rwandan job-seekers.

    Kenyans who have been in Tanzania know the great difficulties of getting a local work permit.

    Working without one in that country is a highly perilous game, as the infamous deportations of Kenyans from there that were carried with utmost malice routinely attest.

    Tanzania greatly likes to be recognised for her ‘internationalist’ policies, with her leaders spending more time strutting the world than they do in their own country, though the facts show they are quite parochial.

    TANZANIA’S GENERALLY CONFUSED posture comes out in its obsession to belong to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

    There is probably less of an economic rationale for this fling than there is a political one.

    Nothing gladdens Tanzania’s heart than to be seen to be close to South Africa.

    But things have surely changed since the days of the liberation struggle.

    Other than a broadly progressive political outlook, the two countries have very little in common.


    and here's Maro's response.​

    Yona Fares Maro.

    This is a restrained response to an article on Tanzania’s stand on East Africa's integration as written and posted by one Mr. Gitau Warigi. I am a reader of many East African dailies. I was however amazed by this article forwarded on the29th Nov 2008, hence prompting me to write back.

    Let me air my reaction on the sad and despicable views by Mr.Gitau Warigi, a self appointed Tanzania analyst of the Kenyan Daily Nationnewspaper, concerning Tanzania's stand on the East African Community issue of federation.

    No right minded Tanzanian would have even raised an eyebrow had it not been for the derogatory manner that the views were presented and the "knoweth all that thou" attitude shown by this out of nowhere character. Some little advice to the journalist is that boisterous behavior has never persuaded or won over any support.

    The humility of Tanzanians has always been taken for granted by some fellow East Africans until they are brought back to their senses. Former Ugandan President the late Idi Amin once made the same mistake and ended up as a permanent refugee in Saudi Arabia.

    The government of Tanzania respects the opinion of all its citizens on critical governance matters. That is why when the issue of East African Federation comes into question, it is the individual people of the respective countries involved that should decide through a referendum, not a few Musevenis, Kibakis and the journalists doing their bidding.

    Tanzanians overwhelmingly reject signing of the joint political and economic federation through the EAC Treaty and also call for an end to any discussions on Tanzania’s land, minerals and resources by our neighbours because most people believe the conditions at this time, starting with the current crop of leadership, is not ripe.

    Tanzanians have continued to watch in bemusement as neighbouring plotters, who as usual, always take us for granted, salivate at the possibility of invading our vast resource opportunities.

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been notorious in making presentation laps across Tanzania and other countries in the hope of becoming the first East African president. Does that help to solicite support for federalism or only puts off people? Gitau Warigi adds unnecessary anxiety by belittling Tanzania’s stated stand on this issue.

    That is how cheap politics and myopia adds fuel to the fire against federation. The war lord Museveni will not lead East Africa and neither will Warigi coerce Tanzania into the union.

    Tanzania has more experience with unions and partnerships both in Southern and Eastern Africa and besides, we have learnt our own internal mistakes through the Tanganyika and Zanzibar Union issue. This blatant self centered spirit and bully attitude displayed by Warigi will not make EAC.

    What problem does Warigi have with Tanzania belonging in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) if he himself suggests it is better to join in stronger economic unions? Isn't SADC a stronger union than EAC?

    If Kenya badly has an itch for a union with neighbours after breaking EAC in 1977, they should try their northern neighbour, the Somalia, at least they have common economic interests via counter-terrorism control along their porous border and pirate-infested shorelines.

    Such people like Warigi, indeed, will not escape scrutiny from right thinking Tanzanians who have a broader mind than these narrow and parochial views he writes about. One wonders how he, a Kenyan journalist, can pass such sweeping and uncalled for political and economical slurs on Tanzania.

    Who is Warigi really fronting? Is it the interest of the ordinary Kenyan on the streets and villages or that of the tribally-centered sociopolitical status quo that holds the cards in Kenya?

    Well, Warigi has failed miserably in all the arguments that had an intention of cajoling and chiding Tanzania into accepting some of the deadly but salient features especially land and citizenship, anchored within the EAC federation issue.

    At best the writer is polishing a rotting apple while going through the motions of degrading and bashing a neighbouring country. Warigi may call it fear by Tanzanians to share opportunities like jobs, but we Tanzanians will call it what it is, fear of land grabbing, instability and insecurity.

    Kenya has hardly solved their own century old land grabbing and disenfranchisement problem, now they want to export it! Land will remain a property of Tanzanians, to explore and utilize as a resource irrespective of any treaties.

    The little land in Kenya has been mismanaged by its greedy leaders to an extent of creating local apartheids within Kenya.

    Of course the land ownership system in Tanzania has some problems of its own but the fact remains that unlike Kenya, most of the land isnot parceled into swathes for the rich, influential and powerful while leaving out the ordinary wananchi to eat the dust and grime in tiny squatter hotspots or slums. One who thinks he knows best for others must try to see his own pitfalls. The Warigi fellow is like a chap who has covered his frontal secrets while leaving his rusted behind bare for all to see.

    When Kenya pulled a fast one on the EAC break away in 1977, Tanzania learned its lesson of what a ‘nyang'au’ is capable of doing quite shamelessly. When Tanzania and Uganda refused to accede to Kenya’s unrealistic demands to have more seats in decision-making organs of the community, Kenyatta pulled out Kenya from the EAC. There was celebration and wine toasting in Kenya after the breakaway of the 60 year cooperation. That history gave Tanzania ample reasons never to trust the political leadership of Kenya, notwithstanding some of its good people.

    In their haste to break up the EAC in 1977 Kenya’s fore bearers probably did not quite understand the meaning and potential benefits of geopolitical advantages. Today Russia is reaping lucrative geopolitical advantages of having oil pipelines passing through its land, supplying multiple countries and the West can only watch in awe and silence. Kenyans seeing the mistakes of their silly and egocentric forefathers are trying to now make an about-turn at the expense of Tanzania. When they want out, they go, when they want in, they come.

    To put it bluntly the Kenyan leadership that Tanzania knows is one that is self centered, narrow minded, short-sighted and believes that money for the moment comes above humanity. It is not even patriotic to its own country! How can they pretend to stand for the collective interests of the East African humanity today?

    Given the landless multitudes culminating into the formation of the Kiberas, Mathares and such poverty stricken slums of Kenya, one would wonder what the heck Warigi is talking about calling Tanzania dirt poor.

    So Tanzania is economically backward, while Kenya is in first world eh? Because our president Jakaya Kikwete leads the African Union (AU) thereby traveling a lot, then Tanzania’s leaders are fond of strutting the globe, eh? Does Warigi think Tanzania's economy is a tiny fraction of Kenya’s that can only be saved by the EAC, eh? That Tanzanians view Kenyans in awe eh? That is nonsense!

    Tanzania’s economy is growing at a rate of over 7% per annum, a rate which is promising by all means. Our aim in development is not to beat Kenya but rather, to make life better in all aspects for every Tanzanian given the challenges before us. Tanzania is reforming the investment climate and improving its infrastructure to encourage real-business. Natural resources are in abundance and ready to be utilized.

    Above all Tanzania knows its position of advantage in East Africa. With a border stretching for thousands of kilometers touching eight countries, its no wonder we are at the cross roads of East African development. At any East African Federation talks, this position must be discussed at our terms of advantage and not otherwise. Kenya must not assume today that we do not know our advantages in terms of peace and stability and centrally located position.

    While growing macro-economically, Kenya haslittle room to develop since it is stifled down with poor, tribal minded leaders, and everybody in East Africa knows that. The socioeconomic set up in the country has ensured them to that stagnation.

    When a Kenyan slashes a fellow Kenyanbecause he/she is of another ethnic tribe, then the trading paths are more than set. Has Mr. Gitau Warigi who lives in the same city with President Kibaki ever interviewed him why he is holding onto power despite losing the election? Whom is he representing really!- the Kikuyu or Kenyans? Tanzania can only form a firm union with another united country whose house is in order, not a tribe. A Tanzanian will also not happily buy a piece ofLifebuoy soap from a Kenyan who steals elections or slashes his brother with a machete.

    Where do you sell that type of brotherhood or community? Warigi thinks you sell it in East Africa in the name of trade of course! That is the Kenyan economic gospel rewritten by econo-evangelists of the Warigi sort where the bottom line is profit and not the well being of society.

    Lo and behold this is not to happen with Tanzania’s eyes closed. Tanzania’s leadership has always been mindful of its citizens’ views. That is why they have to listen when citizens tell them to go slow on the East African federation, because our land citizenship systems must not be opened to the same small group stifling the common people in our neighbouring countries.

    Publicly available records show that Kenyan, Ugandan and Rwandese political leaders are its very own land grabbers.

    Salivating for Tanzania’s land while hiding behind East African Treaty talks will never be allowed by us.

    Every nitty gritty on the East African Treaty issue has to be discussed and agreed upon painstakingly, Tanzania will not be rushed into partnerships of hell. Warigi and his government friends in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda need to first put their houses in order.

    The situation in Uganda and Rwanda speaks about military dictatorships, disenfranchised populace and armies of renegades in their own countries creating havoc at home and abroad. Now add that mix to Kenya’s version of chaos and you see why Tanzania is reluctant to rush blindly into a federation at this time.

    Kenya must realize that there must be a code of political ethics that must be adhered to by all leaders in East Africa before we indulge into anything serious and binding. Uganda and Rwanda must realize that it is the people and not successful military coup plotters who are the key to any decision making, including that of choosing leaders. The leadership of these three countries must realize that tribalism and economic marginalization of any of its sections is a sure cause of unrest. When these conditions besides other concerns raised shall have been met to the satisfaction of a majority then Tanzania can join at the discretion of its people.

    The last General Elections in Kenya depicted just how socially fragmented Kenyans are, while in Tanzania things are quite different, one has to be a zombie to campaign on tribal grounds or to list certain tribes as fit or unfit for leadership. Those TV images of people being mercilessly evicted from buses and slashed to death are blood chilling. That poor man who was slashed to death before the eyes of the whole world on TV is not enjoying the so called Kenyan economic dream. And many more have not, and will not by design, enjoy any social or economic benefits that the famous "Uhuru" cry was supposed to bring. We do not need to spread these social ills across East Africa.

    As Warigi pushes for East African Federation, we know that inherent and chronic socioeconomic problems still do exist in Kenya, lying just below the surface. They only need a spark to ignite them, and I'd rather not be there when this happens.

    The erratic Gitau Warigi should reflect on the behavior of his own people and how that impacts on its neighbours. When it comes to crime and insecurity, be reminded that some Kenyans just recently showed off what they are worth when it comes to stealing, robbing, killing and plunder. We really thank the Tanzanian Police for putting the crude Kenyan thugs and illicit traders out of our borders.

    As a journalist,Mr. Warigi must remember theKenyan gangster crime wave about a year ago that terrorized the north of Tanzania and even Dar es salaam. Tanzania decided to call the bluff. The gang was quickly and efficiently eliminated, and with apologies, Tanzania police had the bodies returned to their next of kin in Kenya. Another Uganda based gang was also recently exterminated in Dodoma. After such terror, you do not need to come blazing in Tanzania about the urgency to open our borders.

    We are aware the same forces of illicit trade arenow trying to unlock the front door of Tanzania through the politics of East African Federation.

    As boastful as Warigi is, Tanzanians can see their door handles being tested for opening by such writings as his. This Gitau Warigi fellow exemplifies the employed middle class Kenyan whose role is to parrot what is commonly discussed and schemed by the architects of the sociopolitical status quo in Kenya today. No wonder he naturally thinks he knows what is best for Tanzania not knowing that the painful facts speak otherwise.

    The Union of East African countries is not happening in the foreseeable future especially with the state of mind reigning in Kenya's and Uganda’s political leadership.

    Even soliciting American President-elect Obama’s goodwill lobby may not aid anything as this is a regional matter. Besides a problem with his tribe, it is on record, the Government of Kenya has been telling off Obama each time he advises on good governance and corruption. Then when he won the Presidential election in the US, national holidays were declared in Kenya.We are watching the hypocrisy of Kenya, safely outside any East African federation.

    (Draft for edit to Daily Nation)
    Yona Fares Maro
    Master of Science in Computer Science and Information Systems (MS)
    University of Michigan-Flint

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    Read more:JUKWAA: Kenyan Discussion Platform - EAC FEDERATION: KENYA'S WARIGI VS TANZANIA'S MARO
  2. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

    Dec 14, 2011
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    I couldn't have said it better than this Warigi guy, lets forge forward without Tanzania, let this not create hate against us. different countries, different interests.