Expulsions of East Africans from EAC regrettable

Editor,Just wondering what is the foundation upon which the East African Community is underpinned – if nationals or perceived nationals of one partner state could be humiliated by another member state considering the way Rwandans in Tanzania are currently being treated by the Tanzanian authorities?
Some of the expelled Rwandans at the Rusumo border.The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.
Some of the expelled Rwandans at the Rusumo border.The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.

Editor,

Just wondering what is the foundation upon which the East African Community is underpinned – if nationals or perceived nationals of one partner state could be humiliated by another member state considering the way Rwandans in Tanzania are currently being treated by the Tanzanian authorities?

Well, my understanding is that Rwanda has a resident diplomatic mission in Tanzania. How a sister country could take this kind of decision, without the slightest attempt to even raise whatever problem they may be having with these people with their counterparts, defeats basic logic!

Tanzanian security agencies, including the police in Kagera Region, are only implementing directives from President Jakaya Kikwete. My questions would always be: Who will finally be responsible to repay the property sprawls that the hounded people have lived to work for all these years?

While I was pondering these in-human acts, I got comforted by the pronouncement by the Government of Rwanda reiterating reassurance of unrestricted stay to Tanzanians living in Rwanda.

Abdul Kanoti
, Rusizi, Rwanda

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Instead of lamenting, Rwandans, as a people, should mobilise ourselves to receive our brethren and help them resettle well in the land of their ancestors. Justified or not, it is the prerogative of the Tanzanian Government to expel any non-national from its territory.

What our government must do is to engage with the Dar-es-Salaam, if need be with the assistance of the relevant international partners, to ensure these expulsions are carried out entirely within internationally accepted norms. That would include protection of family and property rights, and due process in the expulsion decision-making and implementation.

However, their sovereign prerogative to expel foreign residents on whatever grounds they choose notwithstanding, Dar-es-Salaam must be made to understand that expelling Tanzanians of Rwandan origin, arbitrarily stripping them of their citizenship without any pretence of due process, is unlawful under international treaties which Tanzania has ratified.

No right is entirely unlimited, including that of sovereign prerogatives which must be exercised within international law.

Mwene Kalinda
, Kigali,Rwanda

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President Kikwete’s actions are akin to those of Uganda’s Obote in 1982, Zaire’s Mobutu in 1996 and Laurent Kabila in 1998.

Those hapless folks aren’t criminals but why abruptly expel them from the territory that they’ve been residing in for decades? Some had never known any other place to call home. Such an action by the Tanzanian authorities is indeed against the spirit of the East African Community unless if Kikwete is indirectly trying to bury the EAC.

I also wish to appeal to regional leaders, especially Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and help calm the simmering tensions between the two brotherly states, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Moses Wamba
, London, United Kingdom

Reactions to the story, “More returnees received as TZ clamps down on Rwandans”, (The New Times, August 10)

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