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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid