In my last article, Tanzania should be “Sent packing”, I suggested that Tanzania should be left out of the common market implementation for it seems not to be ready for it. A commentator here at Kumekucha said that it would not be fair to come to such a conclusion without knowing the reasons for this dilly dallying by Tanzania.
Well, I agree it is important for us to know why Tanzania is behaving this way. There are three key issues that are driving Tanzania “crazy”. These are: Land ownership, Free movement of people and Permanent residence.
Kenya and Uganda want free for all land policy under which East Africans could be allowed to acquire land in other countries in the region. This is hotly contested by Mwalimu Nyerere’s country “for public interest”.
Tanzania fears that there will be an influx of people from the neighbouring countries to take pieces of land in Tanzania which has bigger arable land. Only 15 percent of 946,000 square kilometers is under cultivation in Tanzania. Kenya is more densely populated and there is scarcity of land to cultivate hence the fear of free movement of people and permanent residence.
Another thing, Tanzanians do not want the use of identity cards for travel within the region because these could easily be forged. Instead they want the use of passports which are internationally recognized. [Tanzanians do not have national identity cards. They are currently doing an evaluation on what is needed to afford a national identity card to each and every eligible Tanzanian].
The other bone in Tanzanians’ collective soup is the issue of free movement of labour. They feel that free movement of labour within the region would lead to a loss of jobs in the formal sector to Kenyans. (Yes, you heard me right…loss of jobs to Kenyans! ). They feel that the advantages that Kenyans have in the job market are integrity, hard work, sharp communication skills and aggressiveness. They feel that Kenyans would snatch jobs from right under their noses – a nightmare to them to say the very least.
These are the reasons (or rather, some of the reasons) that have been making Tanzanians go round and round in circles.
Tanzania Media: Are we “wool gathering” the East Africa Federation?
This guy said it just right
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