Monday, December 22, 2008

EAC Noise: A Pointless Debate?

Just recently, a reader stopped by my “house” and dropped a comment. The reader simply wanted me to join the Michuzi blog to share my views on the raging East African Community formation debate. Well, the reader was kind enough to let me know that my “house” was lonely.

While it is true that I don’t hold the 5 millionth viewer contest, that does not bother me a bit. To get widely recognized is definitely a good thing, but with it pressure tags along. I’m not in a hurry to duplicate what Michuzi has done. That is his voice, and I am very proud for him. The point is this – I will stick to my “small town” environment. Sometimes, the best gifts come in small packages.

Despite all that, let me go back to the call that my esteemed reader made – and that is for me to contribute to the EAC debate. I promised that I will talk about that, but right “here here”.

I have said this before and I will repeat this again – Tanzanians are not very good at paying attention. If they did, they would know that there is no clear direction as to what the country wants to accomplish, how, when, and with whom as partners.

When it comes to the East African Community debate, the above point is very much applicable.

So let me cut through the chase and let you know why I think this debate is pointless. There are so many and conflicting voices within the Tanzanian government that should make Kenyans and Ugandans even more ticked off.

a. Tanzania’s President, JM Kikwete, thinks the EAC integration is just a temporary thing. Tanzania has bigger goals. Read here.

b. Tanzanian is actually crying wolf, thinking that the EAC integration could die because other East African countries (not Tanzania, because we are so holy and forthcoming) are hypocritical and putting their interest ahead of EAC. Read on...

c. Tanzania want to put the country’s interest first in EAC (didn’t you just cry wolf above?). Read on...

Seriously, which is which?

Until Tanzanians have a clear vision of what they want to do with the EAC integration, Kenyans and Ugandans are somewhat justified for slamming Tanzanians. If I'm, as a Tanzania, not clear as to what we want to do, other East Africans can't read our minds. The only best assumption our neighbors can make is that we don't want in. And who can blame them?

Good partners make their minds and positions known, regardless of how unpopular those positions could be.

At this juncture, it is pointless to bebate with Kenyans or Ugandans, because they have been good at driving their agendas (whether those agendas are beneficial to all EA countries is not the point of my discussion). Tanzanians have not. And I don't believe shouting back at Kenyans and Ugandas on online forums is compensating for lack of leadership that our political leaders have exhibited.
If anything, we should demand Mr. Kikwete and Dr. Kamala's blood.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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