At 17:05 hours October 23rd 2023, the Tanzania Boeing 737 max touched down at Kenneth Kaunda international airport in Lusaka Zambia.
On board was a credible diplomatic entourage for collaboration between Tanzania and Zambia in energy, agriculture, defence, trade and economic investiments.
In Lusaka, President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s diplomatic journey unfurls as a resplendent jewel of de jure diplomacy, revealing shared histories and illuminating new economic horizons as she expertly bridges borders. The profound cultural ties between Lusaka and Dodoma come into focus. Tanzanians and Zambians have striking similarities in our culinary traditions. Consider Nshima, known as Ugali in Tanzania, weaves through both nations, while their Zambian Lumanda, a cherished delicacy, is also in Mwanza and other regions around Lake Zone, it is called Mchunga in Sengerema and Mgagani in parts of Shinyanga.
Cassava leaves, referred to as Kasapa in Zambia, bear a resemblance to Kisamvu in Tanzania. Delele in Zambia closely mirrors Tanzanian Mlenda, which is a slimy dish made out of smashed Okra, sometimes mixed with pumpkin leaves and smashed ground nuts. While Bondwe is akin to wild spinach, or Amaranth leaves, which translates to mean mchicha pori, in Swahili, one of very popular vegetables in Tanzania. In most villages, breakfast is served with Ifitumbuwa or Vitumbuwa in Zambia, similar to Vitumbua in Tanzania, a snack crafted from rice flour. It’s evident that Zambians and Tanzanians share more in common than differences.
Across this culinary tapestry, we discover that even in gastronomy, Zambians and Tanzanians share more common ground than differences. The symphony of flavors harmonizes, epitomizing the strong bonds between our nations. Culturally, Zambians greet each other by surnames, “Mr. Mulenga (Bemba) Mr. Mutanga (Tonga) so are we Tanzanians, “Mr. Igosha (Sukuma), Mr. Malya(chagga) indicate our traditional diplomacy, is intertwined, in fact the reference for foreigners from the west is Mzungu in Tanzania, and Muzungu, in Zambia, which means white person.
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s memoir, “Zambia Shall Be Free,” harks back to an era when the destinies of our nations were inextricably intertwined. It resonates not only in words but in shared in new independent country national melodies back in the 1960’s.
Where Mr. Enoch Sontonga, composed Zambian national anthem, and composed our Tanzanian national anthem. Where the verses “God bless Afrika” resonate patriotically in both countries.
Diplomatically, these shows we are two nations but one Destiny.
Our national anthems evoke a harmonious rhythm that underscores our common history. Our police uniforms bear colors akin to one another, an emblematic nod to the significant historical ties that bind us.
The iconic TAZARA railway stands as a testament to our enduring bilateral cooperation, a grand endeavor constructed with a generous interest-free Chinese loan of 400 USD in 1977. This majestic infrastructure does not only carry railway tracks and trains but a historic symbol of our shared journey.
You may wonder about the relevance of these historical ties in the realm of modern diplomacy.
However, as we stand today in the 21st century, we find ourselves immersed in mutual interdependence. Our diplomatic ties gain strength from these deep-rooted historical foundations, evolving to harmonize with the dynamics of contemporary diplomacy. Our shared cultural awareness has forged an unbreakable bond between Tanzania and Zambia.
As President Samia sets foot in Zambia, her diplomatic overtures represent bold initiatives, fostering constructive dialogue and shaping our foreign policy on a global scale. This visit is a testament to our cordial relationship with our historic neighbors. It pays homage to the enduring legacy of leaders like Kenneth David Kaunda and Julius Kambarage Nyerere, rekindling Tanzania’s standing as a paramount nation among the frontline states.
President Samia’s economic diplomacy has borne remarkable fruits. The impact of her diplomacy transcends borders and political boundaries, reaching the corners of Delhi, Washington, South Africa, and now Zambia.
In modern Tanzanian diplomatic history, President Samia’s stands as a keystone, shaping the future of Tanzania’s regional and international diplomacy.
The inauguration one stop border post in Nankonde for Zambian goods signifies a pivotal moment in our economic diplomacy in the South at the Tunduma frontier.
In Tanzanian-Zambian economic diplomacy, the nexus between trade, be it local or international, an efficient transportation system is of paramount importance. The TAZARA railway, designed to transport heavy cargo and reduce travel costs, ushers in an era of extraordinary diplomacy with China. As the largest economy of the future and a significant partner for Tanzania, a new chapter in economic diplomacy beckons.
Perhaps, it is high time for both Tanzania and Zambia to use credible negotiation skills, economic feasibility and viability, of our two countries, in consideration of a new high-level infrastructure of such fit under China’s potential, expertise and experience to construct high speed railways.
Tanzania and Zambia share significant trade routes and belong to burgeoning trade blocs. President Samia’s commitment to open our gates to the vast ocean shores for Zambian imports underscores her dedication to boosting economic diplomacy. Lusaka, nestled in the southern region, serves as a vital economic partner for inter-regional trade. As members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tanzania and Zambia stand poised to achieve remarkable economic progress. However, our current trade predominantly relies on ports and trucks, demanding practical solutions to reduce transport costs and enhance trade volumes.
President Samia’s visit to Zambia is far from a mere diplomatic invitation for 59 years of Zambia’s Independence.
It should mark a pivotal moment for foreign policy strategists in Lusaka and Dodoma. They are tasked with interpreting the presidential diplomatic rhetoric and translating memorandum of understanding (MOU’s) into practical realities. After all, these two nations were the founders of the Mulungushi Club.
Guided by the strength of historic relationships as frontline states and current members of SADC, President Samia, as a leader with a pragmatic approach to economic diplomacy, requires officials who align with her doctrine. Her presence in foreign affairs aims to open doors to new economic opportunities and rekindle the flames of our historic ties with Zambia.
At this juncture, Zambians and Tanzanians remain close neighbors, with shared cultural and political values, akin to apples to apples, notwithstanding nuanced differences in their internal political ecologies.
As we gaze upon these diplomatic initiatives, President Samia steers us toward a brighter future. Her invitation to Zambia’s 59th Independence Day celebrations stands as a testament to the recognition of her foreign policy efforts. It exemplifies the principles of de jure diplomacy in action.
Her adept maneuvering to facilitate international trade and investment for Zambian businessmen is a continuation of her economic diplomacy. The forging of new partnerships in the domains of mineral wealth, agriculture, and the health sector fills us with optimism.
I am very optimistic. In an era where domestic growth can be catalyzed by regional trade, Presidents Hakainde Hichilema and Samia Suluhu share a multi-dimensional schema, unveiling patterns of effective economic diplomacy within the sphere of foreign policy for our two nations.
Beyond trade, I believe that we should envision the possibility of opening cultural centers in Lusaka, where skilled individuals can impart our rich historical ties to the younger generations. Much like Tanzanians, Zambians exude warmth and friendliness and possess a non-confrontational attitude toward others. It is conceivable to breathe life into President Samia’s diplomatic vision, extending it beyond mere trade and political affiliations, to instill the depth of our historic connections. While Zambians excel in English, we are eloquent in Swahili, and these language programs can bridge cultural gaps, create opportunities, enabling valuable initiatives that will safeguard our connections. As we embrace President Samia’s diplomatic vision, let us explore new frontiers in Zambia.
On the home front, Tanzania remains a secular state. However, since December 29, 1991, when the newly elected born-again Christian President Frederick Chiluba declared Zambia a Christian nation, enshrining it in their constitution in 1996.
I believe that for robust Zambia-Tanzania ties, it is within the realm of possibility for us, as Africans to foster pilgrimages to religious holy places in Zambia and Tanzania, reducing the need for overseas journeys. Freedom of religion is democratic, but could foster diplomatic ties.
In our time, the strength of our ties with our neighbors should transcend high-level talks and presidential visits. A Zambian proverb advises, “If you are ugly, know how to dance.”
I prefer the Bemba version, “If you are ugly, learn how to dance.” These words resonate profoundly today, for our demography is marked by youth who may not be well-versed in our historic ties or the momentous decisions of our founding leaders. Now is the moment for young Tanzanians and Zambians to learn how to dance together, discovering where we came from and the significance of our shared history, experiences, and opportunities.
I firmly believe that more than trade, we can establish new cultural centers for our two nations in Lusaka. Talented but visionary artists like the iconic Mrisho Mpoto collaborating with skilled Tanzanian diplomats and historians, could build furtherance of President Samia’s vision.
Diplomatic skilled individuals can continue to teach, nurture our robust historical ties, and pass this heritage on to younger generations.
While Zambians excel in English and Tanzanians in Swahili, these language programs can facilitate initiatives that strengthen our cultural connections. As we embrace President Samia’s diplomatic vision, let us explore uncharted opportunities in Zambia.
As President Samia Suluhu Hassan and President Hichilema of Zambia pioneer new connections, it is imperative that these connections manifest in practical terms for effective diplomatic relations. After all, the essence of foreign policy lies in realizing the interests of domestic policy. As our world evolves, let the visionary dreams of Kenneth Kaunda and Julius Nyerere come to life for modern Tanzania and modern Zambia. Nyerere’s unwavering belief in self-reliance and Kaunda’s resolute commitment to Zambia’s freedom, as encapsulated in his biographical title, “Zambia Shall Be Free,” serve as a testament to the determination and resilience of the Zambian people in their pursuit of self-determination.
As Samia Suluhu Hassan met her counterpart, President Hichilema, let us remember that we are the principal founders of SADC and the architects of the Frontline States of Southern Africa, or simply known as the frontline States, where Julius Nyerere Kambarage and Kenneth David Kaunda played pivotal roles. The time has come to elevate our modern economic diplomacy to new heights, to make it pragmatic and astute.
The Christians bible has a wonderful teaching, credible for Zambia-Tanzanian relations “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
That is the first Corinthians 13:11-12. Today, our era as countries beckons us to set aside decisions that overlook our historic ties and the monumental choices of our history.
The writer is an Advocate of the High Court reachable via: +255747130688, Email: email@example.com