Kagera, Eastern Province discuss pact
Kirehe–The Eastern Province and Kagera Region of Tanzania have began talks on implementation of an agreement signed between the two regions in November last year.
A seven-person delegation from Kagera, led by Seif Hussein, Administrative Secretary in Bukoba,, met their Rwandan counterparts in Kirehe yesterday.
The two parties agreed to strengthen information sharing on administrative and security issues..
Hussein told The New Times that the MoU was principally meant to strengthen the social, political and economic ties between the two regions.
He emphasised that the implementation process should involve the people so that they own whatever the leaders will have agreed upon.
“We share common characteristics which is why we need to set a bench mark to serve our people’s interests. The relationship we forged is for the people…we must involve them right from the village level,” he said.
He added that there was need to harmonise local laws, rules and regulations which hinder cross border trade, at least by 2013.
“We need to advocate for the removal of unnecessary (non fiscal) trade barriers. From Karagwe to Ngara, for example, there are three roadblocks, we can reduce them,” he said.
Protais Murayire, the Mayor of Kirehe District, who led the Eastern Province delegation, said the two regions agreed to combat cross-border crimes, including human trafficking, smuggling and drug trafficking.
“We agreed to conduct regular meetings and patrols, educating the local community on effects of illegal use of drugs and effective preventive legal measures. We shall jointly hunt down culprits, especially drug dealers,” he said.
Murayire also said there would be cultural exchanges including traditional dances and drama.
“We shall promote the use of Kiswahili to facilitate easy communication in the East African Community,” he added.
The officials, however, found it difficult to manage trade through non-official borders, saying the immigration laws in the two countries have differences.
John Mugabo, the Mayor of Kayonza District, said promoting trade would be difficult if movement of people was not eased.
“There is a market frequented by Tanzanians every week in Kibaya, Kayonza...but the travellers don’t carry any documents. Temporary movement passes would serve the purpose...the population need the market for sure,” he said.
Contact email: stephen.rwembeho[at]newtimes.co.rw