News / Africa

Tanzania Concerned with ‘Isolation’ in Regional Group

Three East African presidents, (from R) Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, hold a joint news conference soon after their meeting in Entebbe, 36km (22 miles) southwest of the capital Kampala, June 25, 2013.
Three East African presidents, (from R) Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, hold a joint news conference soon after their meeting in Entebbe, 36km (22 miles) southwest of the capital Kampala, June 25, 2013.
Peter Clottey
Tanzania’s minister for East African Cooperation says the government in Dodoma will consider new strategic alliances after expressing concern about the “strange behavior” of some countries in the East African Community (EAC).

“We are concerned with the actions by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which started very suddenly and without consultations. What we thought was a normal state visit by President Kenyatta to Uganda, [but] having reached there,  it seems President Kagame was then invited, and they started this so-called ‘coalition of the willing’, which in itself is an insult to Tanzania,” said Samuel Sitta, Tanzania’s East African Cooperation minister.

Press reports say that the “coalition” refers to those EAC countries that want to fast-track regional integration.   The press reports some Tanzanian officials as reportedly wanting to go at a more deliberative pace.

                    Isolation

Sitta says it appears leaders of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have taken decisions without properly consulting Tanzania, which he says contravenes the rules of the grouping. But, Sitta rejected recent reports that the government in Dodoma was considering pulling out of the EAC following alleged attempts to isolate Tanzania from the EAC.

“What is happening now to put it mildly is very strange. But, we are not going to pull out. Matters would have to reach a point, where the whole thing is no longer sustainable, and we don’t think it’s reached that,” said Sitta. “We have every right to raise our concerns and to begin preliminary work on new alignments.”

He said the three countries have yet to consult Tanzania on their recent talks about creating a regional program to promote energy efficiency.

“If your neighbors go ahead and talk about self-sufficiency in energy and leave you out completely, how do you proceed with this project? They cost money, so it’s more than isolation it’s like the three countries are trying to pull out of the community, and they are not telling us that that is what they are doing,” said Sitta.

                    New friends

Sitta says Tanzania will seek to form new alliances with other nations if cooperation between member states within the EAC fails to resolve regional challenges as originally conceived by the grouping.

Uganda holds the chairmanship of the EAC and also chairs the group’s council of ministers.  Sitta said Tanzania is seeking an explanation from Uganda before deciding its next line of action insisting that the government in Dodoma has many options for pursuing its national interests.

“We have requested Uganda to explain to us if in terms of strategic alliances, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda feel that they belong more to the northern part of East Africa. That is absolutely fine with us,” said Sitta. “We shall re-align ourselves with South and Central African countries but, we need to be told because these things are not done in a surreptitious [and] sudden manner; obviously we have to seek new alliances.”

                    Rough patch

Diplomatic relations between Dodoma and neighboring Kigali have been tense after Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete suggested that the governments in the Great Lakes region should try and negotiate with armed groups. Sitta admitted that Mr. Kikwete’s suggestion appeared to have angered Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

“It unleashed a barrage of very negative publicity, which so far has not been condemned or even admonished by the Rwandan government, depicting President Kikwete as a vampire or some sort of Dracula chewing on Rwandan children. It’s the kind of thing that one doesn’t do,” said Sitta. “I don’t think you can call Dodoma-Kigali relations cordial.”

                    EAC Summit

A summit of heads of state and government is scheduled to be held on November 30. Some analysts hope the leaders’ summit can come up with solutions to help resolve the tensions among the EAC member states. Sitta said Tanzania will seek clarification at the summit before deciding its next line of action.

“We shall demand to be told whether we shall continue as five countries or (whether) our friends are joining South Sudan to form [a] coalition of four and the remaining partners, Burundi and Tanzania, can form an economic and strategic partnership with the DRC …,” said Sitta.
Clottey interview with Samuel Sitta, Tanzaniza, EAC minister
Clottey interview with Samuel Sitta, Tanzaniza, EAC minister i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

update Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 07, 2013 12:50 AM
I hope the this organization EAC includes; Uganda,Kenya,Tanzania,Rwanda Burundi and may be their counter part South-Sudan, and if Uganda ,Rwanda and Kenya it's leaders have started mis-behaving to there counter parts especialy Tanzania, it shows no meaning of calling it EAC.
Our counter part Tanzania also should not start making early alternatives befor further notice.
I suggest, Tanzania should hold on and settle this mistake it's counter parts have done. There might be a little mistake also Tanzania made that led to the isolation.
Thanks.

by: arthur mwabulambo from: mbeya
November 07, 2013 12:17 AM
As usual complaining and a lot of politics. Others are taking action and move on. Wait for eac meeting and act thereafter. Do not think we have anything to loose. Kenya being investor number one in tzw has to think twice before moving contrary. Kagame and museven are power mongers bent on selfish motives. It was written they hunger to rule east africa. Tx has to take care of its people and resources for many generations to come. Remember nyerere stand. God blessed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs