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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid