THE Tanzanian government has reiterated that foreigners, including nationals of other East African Community (EAC) member states, must use passports to gain entry into the country.
This was stated by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Susan Kolimba, in response to concerns on the issue, raised by some East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) members on the matter.
She told the House that the laws of the country had to be adhered to, among which were those related to immigration. Ms Susan Nakawuki (from Uganda) had wondered why Tanzania didn’t allow citizens of other members of the regional bloc to use Identification Cards at border-crossing points.
She urged Tanzania to follow in the footsteps of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which formalized the use of IDs, thereby easing movement of people from one partner state to the other.
“Crossing to Rwanda, for example, is a pleasant experience, as all one needs is an ID. This reflects an EAC spirit.
Why shouldn’t Tanzania adopt it ?” the MP queried. Dr Kolimba pointed out that Tanzania wasn’t part of the agreement that the three countries had struck, and would therefore stick to the passportrelated formality.
Commenting on the issue, the EALA Speaker, Mr Dan Kidega, said concerns were related largely less to legislators but more to ordinary people whose cross-border movements should be made easier.
He said the provision for free movement of people in the region should be fast-tracked.
In her rejoinder, Ms Kolimba said the issue would be settled after immigration issues were harmonized.
On a separate issue, Ms Nakawuki claimed that the fees charged by the University of Dar es Salaam was based on the students’ nationality, saying Ugandans paid more. Ms Kolimba said she wasn’t aware of the issue but promised to make a follow-up and report back to the House.
However, Ms Patricia Hajabakiga, from Rwanda, whose nephew she said was a student there, was charged the same amount as her Tanzanian college mates.
The Ugandan Minister of State (EAC Affairs), Mr Julius Maganda, said more sensitization was needed to raise awareness at all levels on the integration agenda.
He said each country has its laws; hence harmonization was important to achieve set targets for the community and its people.