DAR ES SALAAM - Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has dismissed reports that his country is against the formation of an East African Federation and the Common Market Protocol.
Kikwete was speaking during the first meeting of the third session of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
He said that his country was only being cautious about hurried integration in the process of achieving an East African Federation.
“It is important, therefore, that the worries and concerns of peoples of each country be taken into serious consideration as we negotiate the Common Market Protocol without being baffled in propaganda,” said Kikwete.
“Since the fears are real, they should not be downplayed, ridiculed or ignored. They should be taken regard of and ways allaying them should be sought.”
Tanzania has on a number of occasions been reported to be dragging its feet in the ongoing negotiations to have a common market protocol, which is scheduled to be signed in November this year.
But the Tanzanian leader described integration as an ongoing process and said that the common market negotiations are a process in both statecraft and diplomacy.
“Diplomacy derives its legitimacy and morality from patience, understanding, courtesy, empathy, civility and tolerance.
“It is important that our negotiation process – and indeed our journey towards our ultimate goal – be guided by these virtues and lessons learned from our past experience on integration process,” he said.
He told the lawmakers that that nations and peoples engage in regional integration with the hope of benefiting equitably.
Kikwete, who was once an EALA ex-officio member before becoming Tanzanian President, called on the media to avoid stoking emotions and “creating a storm in a cup of tea”.
EALA is the legislative arm of the EAC and it has representatives from all the five member-states.