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FOREWORD: Decision to join EA federation needs a rethink

The ideal of an East African Federation is a noble one; but the sort of Federation which is currently under way in East Africa is far from ideal because it will ultimately drive the region towards catastrophe; and this eventuality will be upon us in twenty to thirty years, at a conservative estimate. Being a deeply concerned Tanzanian citizen and since Tanzania will be the biggest loser in this whole fiasco, I feel duty-bound to exercise both my democratic and constitutional rights of canvassing my leaders and fellow nationals through the raising of awareness of the looming storm in the frankest and most transparent way possible.[1] This book is my contribution towards that end.

At the very outset, let me make this request to the President and Parliament of Tanzania and the Minister for East African Cooperation: Tanzania should not bow to pressure from foreign diplomats on the creation of a Federation in East Africa. Foreign Diplomats have their own interests that do not coincide with the interests of Tanzania or East Africa. It is the people of Tanzania who know what is best for them, not foreign diplomats; foreign diplomats are the least qualified to advise Tanzania on the subject, much less to put pressure on our leaders. The Federation is an East African affair, the other member states, Kenya in particular, should not recruit foreigners to put pressure on the decision-making processes of this project.
On 22 January, 2012, Nimi Mweta, wrote in the Guardian On Sunday Newspaper:
” . . diplomats had to approach JK (meaning Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian President) to make some precisions on the subject (of Federation), so that strategic clarity is gained and companies as well as sovereign states may know what to expect.” [2]

This is clear meddling in the internal affairs of Tanzania and East Africa; in fact it is an insult for the diplomats to make such demands on the Tanzanian Presient; no African diplomat would be allowed to seek such “precisions” from the European Union integration processes. Those diplomats should be strongly reminded that they are in Tanzania and not in Kenya and that Tanzania is not a province of Kenya; foreign countries and companies may own Kenya, but Tanzania is owned by the Tanzanians themselves. It has been allegedly alluded that ambassadors in Kenya obliquely rule the country. Writing for The Independent Newsapaper of London, Daniel Howden observed:
“A survey of recent headlines in Nairobi reveals a curious development in Kenya. It appears that foreign ambassadors have taken the role traditionally played by an elected opposition.”[3].

While Kenya’s former head of anti-corruption John Githongo was quoted in the same article as saying: “You have envoys acting and talking as though they were Members of Parliament” the murdered Masai lawyer, Elijah Marima Ole Sempeta, was quoted by the East African Standard, on 1 September 2004:
�The British own and control all resources of this country. . . . Kenya’s independence is a fallacy and there is documentation that can prove it.�[4]

This may explain why some people want a �fast track� Federation process, because the longer it goes on the more inconvenient truth comes out. The East African Federation project has been hijacked by foreign interests; and foreigners cannot be behind it for the benefit of East Africans, let us get that clear first of all.
Collective decisions
Simply put, Tanzania has a very mature attitude towards collective decision-making which is based on its highly-principled civilisation developed since independence in 1961; a culture of saying what we mean and meaning what we say. Once a collective decision has been made in Tanzania it is final, no sitting on the fence or playing ridiculous games of cat-and-mouse. The land question in the proposed East African Federation was settled during the negotiation of the Common Market Protocol in April 2009 and that decision was quite clear � that land is not a federal matter and was left under the jurisdiction of the individual states.
Why then bring up the subject of land again at the 13th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community in December 2011? Have the other member states forgotten what they signed up to in 2009? Or were they trying to play a cat-and-mouse game of: �let’s leave it for now � we’ll get them next time around?� Was that the spirit in which our �partners� signed the protocol on 29 April, 2009? Tanzania was absolutely right not to engage in the absurd games the other member states are playing and instead to unequivocally restat the country’s and the East African Treaty’s position on the land issue. The Tanzania Minister for East African Cooperation, Mr. Samwel Sitta stated:
�We have told ministers representing other member states that Tanzania is not interested in further discussions of the issue of land. It was completed before signing the Common Market Protocol.�, The Guardian, Tanzania, December 2, 2011.

The other member states’ next trick has been to recruit foreign ambassadors and try to make President Jakaya Kikwete abandon Cabinet Government, a system that has been ruling the country since independence, and get him to make unilateral proclamations regarding the Federation. President Kikwete, you need to be aware that is what is going on now; the ambassadors demand for your �precisions” is nothing more than an attempt to turn you into a dictator for the interest of foreigners; be vigilant.
The proposed East African Federation is a charade; since land is the real goal of the other prospective members states, then Tanzania should advise them to form a land federation with South Sudan, it has plenty of land and in fact that is perhaps why the entire Cabinet of South Sudan was invited to Kenya. Let them go ahead. When they start slaughtering one another, Tanzania will bring them to the negotiating table, as it did in the post-election violence of 2007 in Kenya, but never should Tanzania put itself where it can be the victim. Frankly, there is no desire for a genuine federation here; it is all about Tanzania’s land, and we should say a resounding �No�. Absolute values are non-negotiable in politics.
Major loser
I contend that Tanzania will be the biggest loser when this foreign-driven East African Federation descends into civil war. Why? Ever since independence, Tanzania has known peaceful co-existence between the various ethnic and tribal groupings in the country. There are more than 126 tribes in Tanzania, yet there have never been inter-tribal killings since independence. However, in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi inter-tribal massacres have been a common and periodic occurrence. So, when this ill-conceived Federation brings about civil wars, Tanzania will be losing on two levels. Firstly, it will have its first experience of internecine conflicts. Secondly, the war will be fought in Tanzania, because it will be a war of land – Tanzanians fighting to regain their land that will have been taken over by other East Africans under the guise of ‘federal citizenship’. This means there will be peace in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, but no peace in Tanzania.
It is painful to watch how Tanzanians are being hoodwinked in this whole project � hoodwinked by their fellow East Africans; and hoodwinked by foreign backers who are supporting this enterprise in its current form. What is going on in East Africa today, I can say with a degree of confidence, has very little or nothing to do with pan-East African, pan-Africanism or African unity; it has very little or nothing to do with free market or globalisation imperatives, but is rather a scheme skilfully designed by land-hoarders in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi at the expense of Tanzania.
If this is not the case, then let us delete immediately all references to land-sharing, free movement of people, common passport and permanent residence features from all East African treaties, because all of these are purely peripheral to effective economic cooperation and development of East Africa. The principal objective of an East African Federation is not to build an empire but rather should be the mobilization for improvement of the economic lot of the ordinary East Africans and that goal can be achieved without a Federation. So, to insist on the necessity of them today is not only a red herring but an actual con-trick.
The first casualty in the East African Federation enterprise, it seems to me, is the Truth; our leaders are less than honest with one another; they shy away from telling each other the truth, and in turn are forced to be economical with the truth to their own people. This is not the best foundation for building a Federation. There is, for example, an urgent need for Tanzania to tell Kenya, Uganda and Burundi point blank that: �… Look, your civil wars are not caused by natural disasters or tribalism, but by large-scale land injustice. You need to nationalise and redistribute land in your own countries first before we can federate, otherwise we will be federalising civil wars and not the East African people. Rwanda has done it, so can you.� Moreover, to state emphatically and categorically that to keep such iniquitous land policies in the proposed Federation is to keep Tanzania out. That is not blind, sentimental or romantic nationalism, as some people would portray it, but realpolitik. This is the best protection for peace in East Africa, which is the real mark of statesmanship.
I would also urge Tanzania to seriously rethink this whole Federation enterprise. Kenya, for example, proved to be an unreliable partner in the past and it is proving to be an unreliable partner again right now – so why is Tanzania wasting its time on this project? One of the main planks of the so-called Federation is to establish joined-up policies designed to harmonize economic planning and development in the region. But out of the blue Kenya announced it was going to build an international airport just across the border from Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro international airport. If that is not stabbing Tanzania on the back, what is? Where is the harmonized planning in such a venture? It is all but a chimera.
One of the main objectives of these regional economic blocs is to create a strong unified body with sufficient clout to command attention at the bargaining table with outside entities. Ms Rose Kamau wrote about the East African Trade Negotiation Act of 2008 thus: �. . . the Act seeks to facilitate the promotion of regional and international trade for sustainable development of member states and establish a mechanism for joint negotiations of the partner states in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade.� [ 5] (the emphasis is mine). Yet in the middle of the European Union (EU) and East African Community Economic Partnership (EAC-EPA) negotiation in 2010, Kenya declared it was going to break ranks with the EAC if it didn’t sign the Treaty with Europe so pulling the rug from under the feet of the other EAC member states. What is the meaning of collective bargaining?
From 1976 the apartheid regime in South Africa was detaining thousands of school children across the country and waging war against its neighbouring countries; according to a book by Joseph Hanlon, called Apartheid’s Second Front, the regime’s destabilization war against its neighbours between 1980 and 1986 cost: � � more than 100,000 lives and �10,000 million, and made at least one million people homeless.�[6] Yet, if the library of the US Congress is to be believed, Kenya maintained trade links with the Apartheid regime throughout. With such a record of lack of transparency and reliability does Kenya really possess the essential qualities needed to work in partnership with Tanzania? Kenya is conducting itself as a country without scruples; why would Tanzania want to be part of such a venture?
EAC head office
During the East African Common Market Protocol negotiations in 2009, Kenya attempted to blackmail Tanzania by implying if it did not sign a land-sharing arrangement then the Headquarters of the Community would be moved elsewhere; as if having the Head office in Arusha is meant to be a quid pro quo for our land. Seriously Tanzania needs to draw a line under this question of land and state categorically that there would be no land sharing federation with Tanzania forever; and direct the East African prospective member states that they can site the 14 million Euro concrete Federation HQ block from Germany anywhere they want if the price of it being in Arusha is the appropriation of our land. Who said the value of Tanzania’s land is only 14 million Euros? It should be clearly understood by everyone that as far as Tanzania is concerned land is totally out of the equation, otherwise the other member states will keep on badgering Tanzania.
The Kenyan government needs to be reminded that when it comes to this unhelpful type of tit-for-tat bargaining then Tanzania is holding the trump card. Kenya should be mindful of its heavy investments in Tanzania; it also needs to remember that its tourist industry is heavily reliant on attractions located in Tanzania (eg the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara etc) Tanzania should advise the Kenyan government that if it builds the planned international airport next to Kilimanjaro international airport (which is a clear sabotage) then Tanzania will be free to close its borders for the purpose of Tourism, regardless of what has been agreed previously, therefore, the significance of level-headed interactions cannot be over-emphasized.
Before the East African Common Market protocol was signed on 29th April, 2009, some politicians and the press in East Africa, led by Kenya, accused Tanzanians of dragging their feet, obstructing the integration process and of actually being a liability. The truth, however, was quite otherwise. What Tanzania took exception to, and for good reasons, was making land a Federation matter.
When the language and tone of those accusations grew increasingly intense, I felt the imperative to comment on what I considered as Kenya’s breathtaking hypocrisy. So I published an opinion article in the �Daily News� of Tanzania on 5th, 12th and 19th January 2009. And after the signing of the East African protocol in April of 2009, I wrote another article (which was in part published in the Daily News again), expressing my concerns regarding what I think is Tanzania’s giving in too much to the demands of the other member states. I still consider the protocol and Federation set-up to be hostile to Tanzania’s vital national interests and I urged the country then and am reiterating that message here: let us renegotiate or get out before it gets out of hand. These articles have been reproduced here for their relevance to the subject matter of this book as Appendixes 1 � 3 which can be read independently as a summary of my argument and views.
The 2011 EAC Summit
The advantages of Tanzania staying out of the East African Federation are getting clearer to anybody with each passing day and as the pro-federation camp’s failure to respond to Tanzania’s fears become ever more conspicuous; this camp is resorting to tactics of making Tanzanians feel and look stupid for failing to see the obvious, when actually there is nothing to see. This trend has been apparent once again in the EAC Summit of December 2011 held in Bujumbura, Burundi, when we glean through the statements of the major players. For instance trying to answer fears over matters of land, the Ugandan Tourism Minister, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu is reported as saying:
�The question of land-grabbing has been expressed mostly by Tanzania despite several assurances from Uganda and Kenya that this would not happen. That is far-fetched. Who will leave Uganda to go and take land in Kisumu?�[7]

That being the case why are Uganda and Kenya like a dog with a bone in insisting that land be a Federation matter? The first answer to his question is, no Ugandan will dream of going to take up land in Kisumu because there is no spare land for Kenyans themselves there, much less for Ugandans or anybody else in the region. Secondly, no Ugandan will contemplate settling in Kisumu due to the security situation; if in the heat of the moment the Kenyans can burn to death an estimated 100 fellow Kenyans sheltering in a church as happened in Eldoret during the post-election violence in January 2008 [8], what are they capable of doing to non-Kenyans? Thirdly, the land fears are expressed by Tanzania so the Uganda and Kenya analogy is not well-drawn; we all know that the rest of the member states want free movement and the right of abode so that they can go to Tanzania where there is free land as well as peace; Minister Kamuntu let us have a nuanced debate on the issue.
Another senior official, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, is quoted as saying the land fears were �laughable� and �unfounded�.[9] The fact that an officer as senior as herself expressed such sentiment should be truly frightening, because it shows a substantial lack of political reality regarding the region. Madame Speaker, for your information, all civil wars that have taken place since independence in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi have had their roots in the unfair distribution of resources, principally land. In Kenya for instance, huge disenchantment over land among the population has given rise to the so-called �insurgents� in the Mount Elgon area and other places; these are people with a genuine land-related grievances, not common criminals as portrayed in the Kenyan press; in other words they have every justification to react in such manner to a political system that has unjustifiably condemned them to a future without land, jobs or state benefits. So, to request the Kenyan authorities to sort out those problems before federation is quite reasonable; what is either �laughable� or �unfounded� about this? In Uganda, absentee landlordism exists side-by-side with mass landlessness across the country; on 17 February 2011 an article on the allAfrica.com website wrote about escalating land wars in northern Uganda affecting 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Land injustice, which normally translates itself into economic injustice, has also made peace illusive in both Burundi and Rwanda since independence and in the latter culminating in the genocide of 1994. What is �laughable� or �unfounded� about all these realities Madame Speaker? Tanzania should stick to economic cooperation in East Africa; political federation is a con. If the other states opt for Federation let them go ahead, but Tanzania should stay out.
East Africa and the two Sudans
East Africa extended a membership invitation to Africa’s 54th and the world’s 193rd nation state, the Republic of South Sudan, while North Sudan has, uninvited, applied to join the Club. The best case scenario is for the �invitation� not to be taken up and the �application� declined. North Sudan’s human rights record is too poor to qualify for admission to an East African Federation. As for South Sudan itself, I would advise it not to join the Federation; not now, for its own best interest. East Africa has its own gigantic, man-made land shortage mess to sort out before it can be in a position of inviting any country (especially a land rich one) to join without harbouring ulterior motives.
To the East African member states I would say that to invite South Sudan to join the Federation at this juncture, while the internal land crisis remains unresolved, is a cynical proposal. However, South Sudan has made its choice and lodged its application to join the proposed East African Federation on November 11, 2011. Whether South Sudan has been too hasty only time will tell. North Sudan’s application was turned down because the country is not bordering any of the existing member states. However, that means once South Sudan is admitted, the North will qualify; and to welcome that country with its poor human rights record in Durfur and South Sudan itself would be a disgrace to the Federation.