In part one of the seiries, I said before we talk about politically federating as a community we needed to sort out certain critical issues affecting our individual member countries.
I also expressed concerns that, due to our violent past, we needed to critically look at our history to guide us on how we will craft our future political destinities. So this time I am inclined to talk about Tanzania, the current host of the East African capital.
Tanzania to me is the country which is at peace with itself. By this I mean that national cohesion has been an issue Tanzanian leadership sorted out quite well during the process of national building after independence.
Credit goes to Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere for crafting a nation-state that as we speak appears to be more cohesive than its neighbours.
The trickle down effect is that Tanzanians are regarded by the outside world as more peaceful citizens than other East African countries.
While East African countries have been engulfed in one violent political conflict after another Tanzanians have shown that Africa can sustain peaceful political systems.
Tanzania is the island of peace in an otherwise violent region that is known as the African Great Lakes region. The Global Peace Index which measures the peacefulness of nations has reinforced this fact. The net effect is that Tanzania’s transition mechanism is the most mature of all.
Nyerere passed the button to Ali Hassan Mwinyi who passed it seamlessly to Benjamin Mkapa. Ex-president Mkapa inturn handed it to the current head of state Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
All these transitions happened when Tanzania was equally transiting its overall political orientation from a socialist to a capitalist model. Even Mwalimu Nyerere had to acknowledge the mistakes he made while President.
He openly admitted to having made mistakes by embracing the ‘Ujamaa’ system which was a Tanzanian communist model. This necessitated the transition from communism to capitalism. For all these attributes I think Tanzania deserves to be home to the capital of East Africa.
The only misgivings I have against Tanzanians is at the level of hammering the consensuses needed to drive forward the federation. Here our Tanzanian brothers have been a disappointing lot.
Instead of taking leadership in as far as crafting the consensuses on the bigger picture for the federation, Tanzanians have preferred to retreat back to their cocoons of national pride. An issue such as cross-ownership of land has not been well received by our Tanzanian brothers.
With this I mean that if we are to be one country then citizens of member states ought to be able to own land freely in any country without any hassles. Tanzanians were up in arms over this arrangement.
This went against the spirit of crafting the actual building blocks of the Federation. Talk is also rife within media that Tanzanians were, at one time, extremely hostile to the idea of receiving professionals from other sister countries in areas such as media.
In fac,t there was a time that Tanzanians threw out members of media from Kenya who had gone to work in certain media houses in Dar-es-Salaam. What am trying to say is that much as Tanzanians are at peace with themselves they are not at peace with other fellow East Africans.
These are the other ingredients of actualising the federation apart from those that our political leaders are chasing. I feel that citizens also need to be part of the fast tracking. Reaching a commonality among citizens in terms of the actual free movement of labour as professed by our leaders is truly what would build and assist with the fast tracking process.
Tanzanians seem to lag behind in this regard.
In my fourth series I will talk about Burundi.