TANZANIA is fully supporting Burundi’s application to join the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, declared the stance in Dar es Salaam yesterday during his thanksgiving meeting with editors and senior reporters of various media houses, after conclusion of the SADC Summit.
Prof Kabudi revealed that Tanzania was supporting Burundi by 100 per cent and as it is for the application of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has already been admitted.
“There are conditions and criteria for admission, and Burundi has already met these conditions and criteria by 70 per cent. The door for Burundi to join the bloc is still open, contrary to the misconception that the application has been dismissed,” he stressed.
The minister noted that a SADC verification team would be deployed to Burundi to assess the country as it (Burundi) had been notified to complete some matters in two areas.
“First, Burundi has been notified to give us assurance of paying annual fee…but I cannot disclose the second area,” said Prof Kabudi, dismissing reports that the second area could be instability of the country.
The minister gave a reminder that Tanzania had been supporting Burundi for many years on several platforms, recalling the role played by the late Mwalimu Nyerere in peace talks of Burundi.
“Mwalimu Nyerere was a peace mediator of Burundi, and the role was thereafter taken by the late Nelson Mandela. Burundi has been going through rough tides since its independence in 1962.
“We, Tanzania, have been supporting Burundi all the way to make it tick,” he stated.
On Zimbabwe’s sanctions, the minister said that SADC member states, led by Tanzania, had decided in one voice, to make sure they are lifted.
He expressed his dismay over why the sanctions were prolonged while the country had rejuvenated after making various socio-economic reforms and conducting fair and free general elections.
“We (SADC) have noted the adverse impact on the economy of Zimbabwe and the region at large and have expressed solidarity with the country, calling for the immediate lifting to facilitate its socio-economic recovery.
Those who are suffering from the sanctions are the innocent Zimbabweans; the vulnerable groups - children and women,” the minister lamented.
Prof Kabudi said that Tanzania would spearhead the crusade to make sure that the sanctions were lifted as it did to make sure China retained her seat in the UN, and Africa’s boycott against UK in 1960s. On a serious note, Prof Kabudi showered praises on media for their sterling coverage during the entire SADC summit.
“This time, I am proud to be a journalist…you covered the event gallantly, marvelously and professionally. I am here to thank you; you made the event bigger and the country more powerful,” he added.