TANZANIA has reiterated its commitment to the East African Community (EAC) on the integration agenda. Already, the country plans to ratify the EAC protocol on foreign policy coordination anytime soon. Speaking here yesterday, Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Liberata Mulamula assured the EAC Secretariat that Tanzania was willing to ratify the outstanding protocol as its commitment to the integration agenda.
“Tanzania stands together with the EAC…if there are issues that stalled, we will still revive them for the benefit of East Africans,” assured the minister while addressing a consultative forum of EAC ambassadors to Tanzania at the Secretariat’s headquarters yesterday.
She told the envoys that the EAC Memorandum of Understanding on Foreign Policy Coordination requires partner states’ missions, among others, to promote regional activities and marketing EAC cooperation abroad in areas of trade, investment, tourism as well as cultural issues; maximization of advantages of combined and harmonised efforts in addressing regional needs in international fora and co-ordination of programmes for East African Co-operation regional projects.
Among other things, the protocol which was signed in 1999, seeks to promote development and harmonisation of policies and strategies to support foreign policy co-ordination; safeguard the common values and interests of the Community and develop and promote the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms within the Community and with foreign countries.
Likewise, Ms Mulamula assured the EAC Secretariat that Tanzania had settled its financial obligations to the EAC.
“While we acknowledge the failure of some countries dillydallying in honoring their financial obligations, Tanzania has cleared all its outstanding dues at EAC,” the Minister insisted. Failure of some partner states to pay their remittances to the EAC has for years been a thorny issue, a reality that has seen some of the Secretariat’s institutions failing to execute their activities.
Ms Mulamula further challenged the EAC Secretariat to always share with Partner States Diplomatic Mission all public information available, like Community magazine, newsletter, fact and figure reports to create awareness and update them on regional matters for them to execute their mandate entrusted by MoU. Earlier, the envoys’ chairperson, who is also Kenya’s ambassador to Tanzania, Dan Kazungu underscored the importance of such a forum in spearheading the integration agenda.
“Things move when brothers sit together because we all care for the community,” he explained.
Much as the EAC has had its highs and lows over the years, the diplomat insisted on the need for working together in lifting the lives of East Africans. The EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki on his part said the forum will among other things discuss how an economic diplomatic approach would enable the community achieve engendering a sense of unity, shuttle diplomacy and provide answers to economic policy questions.
According to the EAC boss, there was need of making the forum a biannual event.