Tanzania is re-organizing itself to fully engage in integration within the East African Community (EAC), according to Speaker of Tanzania's Parliament, Anne Makinda.
She argued that Tanzania, is a big country with broad borders and with its population of more than 45million people, full integration into EAC is still a far-fetched dream.
"We are actually not reluctant. We are just not ready and we need some more time. There is need to first talk to our people and be careful to educate them properly so that when we take up the initiative; there is nothing to worry about," Makinda said on Monday at a meeting of regional parliamentary speakers held in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
She added that the idea of integration is good but it is equally important to start on a solid foundation especially in Tanzania.
Makinda pointed out that her country has a major challenge of first letting the citizens understand the initiatives to make it sustainable.
It order to avoid having a wavering community in her country, she noted, Tanzania aims at first issuing national Identity cards for its nationals before embracing other general integration policies.
She disclosed that it could take about two years to have them available.
However, Rwanda's Senate president, Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said lawmakers should try within their mandate to accelerate the integration process.
He said that as much as there is need to be patient, it is equally important to set and beat deadlines if partner countries are to benefit from the integration.
"We need to achieve what we have agreed and if we do not speed up the process, it would lose meaning and one would wonder why we started the initiative in the first place," Ntawukuriryayo underscored.
Kenya's Speaker, Kenneth Marende appreciated that the progress made so far is reasonable and there is no reason to have parochial fears, noting that the issue of being distinct from each other has no place in the future.
Tanzania, he said, is a signatory to the EAC treaty and it shows that they are willing to comply with all regulations but if they have difficulties, it is unfortunate and we need help them.
He acknowledged this is a process and people need to agree on how to co-exist as they move to actualize full integration.
Uganda's Rebecca Kadaga said member countries have different political timetables, but there is need to harmonise.
Rwanda's Rose Mukantabana observed that a road map of the Integration process is in place to enable reach the ultimate phase of having a political federation.
She pointed out that Parliament being the legislative arm of the community has to play a pivotal role in this regard.
Out-going EALA's Speaker, Abdirahin Abdi said accusing a single country of derailing the integration process is not fair, adding that none of the partner states has fully implemented the common market protocol plus harmonizing other laws.
"Yes it is not as fast as we want it but we should broadly look at all the issues surrounding this integration before we start pointing figures at individual states," he said.