Thursday, 4 December 2008

Tanzania rejects EAC proposed land reforms
Risdel Kasasira[The monitor]
The East African Legislative Assembly started its two-week session in Kampala yesterday with Tanzania maintaining its dissenting position on the proposed land reforms and the East African Identity Card.During the press briefing addressed by EALA Speaker Abdirahin Abdi at Parliament yesterday, Tanzania Deputy Minister for East African Cooperation Mohammed Aboud said his country is not ready to adopt the East African passport and private land ownership.Mr Aboud said, “In Tanzania the land is public and feel okay with it. We also feel that our national identity card should remain. Why shouldn’t these other countries adopt our land laws.” Land in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi is largely privately owned but in Tanzania, ownership entirely belongs to the government.The Common Market provides for free movement of labour and resources but Mr instead says other member states should nationalise land ownership. “In Kenya only 10 per cent of land is owned privately. In Uganda, you also have problems with the Kabaka, why not adopt our land ownership system?” he asked.Mr Aboud also said Tanzania wants to maintain its passport as a national identity card for fear of criminals entering their country. “We have experience. We feel we should maintain our passport as a national Identity card because of security issues,” he added.The East African Community member states are planning to introduce one passport for citizens in all five member states. But Tanzania has been slow and hesitant to support these reforms, a situation that is likely to drag the 2012 planned political federation. Mr Abdi said a technical team composed of members from partner states will meet in Rwanda in January 2008 to discuss the variance position of Tanzania on Common Market.Rwanda and Burundi, which joined the EA community early this year, are behind schedule after joining the community late and are still collecting views of their citizens on the community. The Rwanda Minister of East African Community Affairs, Ms Monique Mukaruliza, said the two countries are still collecting views from the people on the EAC and findings of the consultations will soon be presented to the community.On the proposed uniform school fees for students in partner states, Ms Mukaruliza said after adoption of the Common Market, all students will pay the same school fees.
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