Tanzanians say no to East African Federation

News April 17, 2007

About 80 per cent of Tanzanians who have responded to the Wangwe Commission, which is collecting views on the fast-tracking of the East African Political Federation, have said they are not for the idea.

Although the views’ collecting mission is not complete, with just 55 per cent of the Mainland and 20 per cent of the Isles covered so far, sources within the Ministry of East Africa told The Citizen last week that the mid term review, conducted early this month, has revealed that 10 regions in the Mainland have totally rejected the political federation plan.

Sources said it was not a secret within the Wangwe Commission that Tanzania is not interested in the political federation. In fact, sources say, what the officials are doing is simply to go through the formalities because the exercise on views’ collection must be completed and people's views registered. "Reports that Zanzibaris are not ready are not mere rumours either, this is true for Zanzibar wants to remain as it is," one source said.

The exercise is expected to come to an end by next month when the report on what Tanzanians have decided will be handed over to PresidentJakaya Kikwete . The report is expected to form the basis for determining the fate of the federation.

The three commissions collecting locals’ views in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda met in Arusha on April 2 to compare notes after the midterm review and each of them got the chance to explain their position before they jointly finalised a strategy on how to complete the exercise.

Following this meeting, Prof Samuel Wangwe, who heads the Tanzanian commission, told journalists last week in a press conference that the review was not meant to compare statistics as to how many people want the Federation, instead it aimed to review how far the exercise had gone and what have been the challenges and improvements that are needed.

He further told the media that in Tanzania, his commission met many challenges especially with regards to people's scanty understanding of the federation. This scenario forced them to embark on educating people on the matter before they asked them to give opinions.
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